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Beer Man: Pretty good Killian's stout is a nice take on a classic

7:12 PM, Mar. 13, 2013  |  Comments
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I was not expecting much from Coors' release of its Killian's stout, based on my experience with Killian's Red, which is about as far from an Irish red ale as you can get.

It doesn't help that Coors goes to great pains to hide its association with the beer. The label says, "Manufactured under license from Brasseries Pelforth, S.A.," and there also is mention of Unibev Ltd. of Golden, Colo., which is where the main Coors brewery is located. There is no mention of Coors on the label.

It turns out the brand name "George Killian" is owned by the French Pelforth brewery and Coors bought the rights to use the name in the U.S.

In addition, Coors is part of MillerCoors, which in turn is owned by South African Breweries (SAB), which actually has its headquarters in London. There also is some Philip Morris connection in there, at which point my head started to hurt.

However, on to the actual beer. Killian's Irish Stout has a nice tan head that lasted for most of the sampling and left some lacing on the inside of the glass. A bit of sweetness first hit the palate, quickly balanced by medium hop bitterness and a nice sharpness.

The malt flavor is mostly chocolate roast with a background of coffee, and there is a finishing dryness. The main drawback was a slight metallic taste on the first sip, which subsequently went away, but sometimes popped up in the finish. Not enough to ruin the beer, but enough to be annoying.

How does it compare to the classic Irish Guinness? It's sweeter, sharper and less dry, plus lacks the extra-creamy head, which is usually from Guinness' nitrous-charged tap system.

The bottom line is that 4.9 percent ABV Killian's stout is pretty good, if not classic, and I purchased my six-pack for a bit less than $6. It will not replace Guinness, but you could do worse.

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