11/11/21: R. Shea Brewing's Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

4:08 PM

This is the only Thanksgiving beer I'm doing up this year. It's one that I saw on the shelves last year, but my Maple Month lineup was pretty set in stone by that point. As the holiday season waned, I saw it leave store shelves and figured that I'd missed my chance.

But! In February of this year, I found a lone can left in the build-your-own sixer section of a local bottleshop. I built a pack just to include it. Turns out that I didn't need to worry because the beer came back this year anyway. Or maybe retailers have found a few more packs of the stuff in their backrooms. Regardless, I have a slightly-aged can to crack into today. I'm calling that a treat.

Oh, and the beer's R. Shea's Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes (I should've included a spoiler here for those of you who didn't read this post's title).

R. Shea (or, Ron Shea) started his Akron, OH-based brewery after working in the chemistry field for a few years. He's been a brewer for 19 years, having received a brewing kit from his wife for his 21st birthday. R. Shea (the brewery now) employs a method of pressurized fermentation in their brewing process, meaning they don't need to use a whole step dedicated to carbonation like most breweries do. Here's their "Our Story" page, for those of you keen on more info.

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes is an 8% ABV milk stout that's brewed with maple and sweet potato. That's all the info I can find on the beer--my can doesn't have any further details.

Purrl hates how the stout smells--she wouldn't even give it a single whiff. Personally, I think the cat's way off base. A waft of my can provides hints of coffee, chocolate, sweet potato spice, and, most importantly, maple syrup. It's a delectable bouquet. I'm beginning to think that maybe Purrl's just not a maple person.

My first pull from the can is interesting. I get the milk stout sweetness, with coffee and chocolate, too. I'm also finding a healthy amount of maple and yam. But, all of this converges in the finish into something else entirely, something I didn't expect: gooey, slight-burnt caramel corn. It's not unpleasant, but certainly unlooked for. EDIT: I'm doubling back from later on in the post to report that I'm now picking up on a distinctly appley flavor.

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes' mouthfeel is all of that good, creamy milk stoutiness that it really should be.

Drinking the stout doesn't really remind me of Thanksgiving. Instead, it's reminding me of Christmas. My mom makes the absolute best caramel corn and she goes all out with it during the holidays. It's sweet and rich, just gooey enough that you really have to work to eat it (if you take a big clump like I usually do--if you take just a piece or two you'd probably be fine).

Now that I've settle a little with the stout, I can't say I'm super impressed with R. Shea's Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes. It's a little too sweet, and a little too burnt tasting for me. While I do enjoy the nose, I can't bring myself to score it anything other than a 7.5/10. 

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