Mackeson XXX Stout

By on January 27, 2009 @ 6 PM (28 Comments)

Picking back up with our Father and Son Thursday review sessions, we’re hitting the Mackeson XXX Stout, pronounced Mackeson Triple Stout. Opinions vary on the pronunciation of Mackeson – we’ve seen everything from “Mack-E-son” to “Mickasen” so we’ll just agree to disagree.

Though technically an InterBrew (now InBev) beer, it’s brewed by the Boston Beer Company in Cincinnati. It’s said that the recipe for Mackeson has been around since 1801, but that refers to the British version of the beer known simply as Mackeson’s Stout. The American version gets the XXX distinction because it’s so obscene, like you can see everything, including, oh wait. It’s called XXX because it’s got a 4.9% ABV as opposed to the 3.75% ABV of the UK edition.

For our rigorous testing purposes we procured a 12 oz bottle that was, as we said, 4.9% ABV. The beer temperature for the rating was 56.5 F and we used an British pint glass.

Our initial pour gave us a large 2 1/4″ rocky dark brown head that yielded a good amount of head lacing as it dissipated slowly. There was little to no carbonation and the color was an opaque black.

A few good whiffs gave us a nice arrangement of smells – chocolate, coffee, molasses, roasted malts, black licorice, cream and soy sauce. A few good tastes gave us a lot of the same with a little bit less and a little bit more: chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, earth, black licorice, cream and soy sauce.

Our initial flavor notes were a moderate sweet that stays constant into the finish but rounds out with a light bitter and light saltiness as well. The finish length is average, the mouthfeel is creamy and the tongue hit is in the front. There’s really no body lacing to speak of. On the patented malt to hop scale it comes in 3.5 clicks to the left of balanced on the malty side – one of the more malty beers we’ve done.

For our bottom line notes we get a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony, memorable and buy again. Our only no is for wow factor (we’re just not as easily wowed as we once were).

It’s very similar to a milk stout, especially in mouthfeel. Some review sites actually classify it as a milk stout (some classify it as a sweet stout and some show a milk/sweet stout). Whatever it is it’s very smooth and nice. It’s got a strong sweetness to it though – stronger than a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, and that may be off-putting to some of you who don’t like them super sweet. The sweetness really hangs around on this one.

The good news is it seems to be pretty readily available and relatively inexpensive – you can probably pick it up for less than $2 a bottle in a single. It’s a really good session beer if you like the sweet stuff and would go really well with some cheese and crackers. This one is definitely BeerFather approved.

Mackeson XXX Stout Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)


28 Comments (Add Your Comments)

  1. Chuck says:

    Where is it readily available? This is my favorite beer and i can’t find it anywhere. It was available one day, and completely gone the next. Please help if possible.

  2. Tara says:

    I second Chuck’s question. I’m in SoCal, and NO ONE has it. BevMo and Trader Joe’s told me it’s been discontinued indefinitely.
    Failing distribution info, could you recommend any suitable substitutes? I’m not fond of Young’s, as I like my stouts sweet, black and chewy…

  3. Harold says:

    I need to know where this beer’s gone too? Can’t find it in Northern California either. I’m suggesting if it’s a distributor problem – choose another one. If it’s gone for good….what is an alternative….

  4. John says:

    Not sure what’s going on with the Mackeson XXX Stout. Will try to find some more info on that soon.
    If you’re looking for a good sweet stout that’s not a super high gravity – we really liked Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout. Here’s the review for that one:
    http://www.thebeerfathers.com/bells-kalamazoo-stout/
    A lot of the same notes involved and a nice heavy sweet edge to it. Hopefully you can get it out in CA – Bell’s has a pretty good distribution around the US.

  5. Nathan Cooper says:

    Again, seconding Chuck, where can you find it anymore? I live in Phoenix, AZ and about six to nine months ago it disappeared from every store I used to find it. Two weeks ago, I was told by one store owner that it was discontinued – he wasn’t sure if I was the county, state, or nationally. It is easily my favorite beer and I would love to find it again.

  6. Joe DeAngelo says:

    FWIW, I also am missing Mackeson’s. I gather it is no longer produced but I have no way to validate that. I have been sampling some other stouts since then and found that Milk Sout made by the Left Hand Brewing company is a reasonable substitute for now.

  7. John Swift says:

    NO longer produced? That is terrible! I love that beer. I was wondering why my local store no longer has it.

  8. john l. says:

    The brewery that bottled it was bought out by Boston Beer, at least from scanning the net, thats what happened.
    Boston Beer will not say yea or nay to producing it again.

  9. Josh says:

    Here is the number for their corporate office. 617.368.5000 Maybe if enough people call and ask about it they will see that there is still a demand.

  10. alvin says:

    I called the above number, and spoke to a nice fellow in consumer relations who told me that the brewery in Cincinnati produces Sam Adams only, and Boston Beer does not brew Mackeson Stout, and certainly not for anyone else. He suggests emailing the brewery in England, which got bought by AB/InBev. ABInbev, in turn, used to list Mackeson as a “local brand”, but its UK-specific website says nothing about it. If anyone wants to email , go for it!

  11. alvin says:

    whoops, left out the contact info!
    http://www.inbev.co.uk/Contact.htm
    Sadly, it sounds like a discontinued beer to me.

  12. Brad Mackeson says:

    It’s pronounced “Mackasin”
    Well at least thats how I pronounce my name!

  13. Jeff Saxton says:

    Mackeson is no longer brewed in the US. There is a distributor of Mackeson XXX in Florida:
    DCI Miami Inc.
    Tel: 1-305-591-0885
    caribbeer@caribbeerus.com.
    who distribute the “US version” (4.9 % alcohol), which is brewed by Carib Brewery in Trinidad & Tobago.
    I am very interested in pursuing a distribution arrangement for Mackeson & have directly contacted Whitbread in the UK & A-B in the US. I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas as I sincerely believe that Mackeson has the potential to significantly erode Guinness’s market share.
    Thank you.

  14. Brennen White says:

    I did not like beer until I tasted Mackeson Triple Stout!
    I had the beer while living in Indiana.
    Since then, I have not found a beer that matches it! I have also not found a place that sells it! It is my favorite beer by a vast leap!
    Those I know who have had the beer love it. I can’t wait to share it with my friends who haven’t had it! I cannot believe it’s distribution was interupted.

  15. Corland says:

    I live in the Washington DC area and have been trying to purchase some Mackeson since last year without any luck. I drank some last month while on travel in the Caribbean but the taste is different to the one that I use to purchase in this area. I contacted one of the distributers that use to carry it but they indicated that they stopped because it was not a good seller. I still belive that it was one of the best stout that I have ever drank.

  16. drivefast says:

    This is my favorite beer ever. (I’m not much of a beer drinker – but this I really enjoy!!).
    Personally, I preferred the US version in a bottle more than the UK version in a large can.

    As was suggested above, I’ll try:
    1)Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout
    2)Left Hand Milk Stout

    I’d love to hear of any other close substitutes for the unlucky US population?

  17. EDUBB says:

    Houstonian here. Mackeson is my FAVORITE beer. i noticed the disappearance 2 years ago. i am very saddened by this. hahahahaha! i swore up and down on Mackeson as the best stout ever made. i will suggest trying Belhaven Scottish Stout and Blackout Stout. still doesnt taste anything like Mackeson, but it will do. we need to get a petition going or something. hahaha!

  18. Beth says:

    So, I am in no way a beer afficionado – I don’t drink beer, but when met with a challenge, I’ll go for it.

    That being said, I was looking for Mackeson for my husband (FunkyBlue) for his birthday. I ran the gamut of “no’s” from distributors and the like. Finally, I decided to start at the source. I called Boston Beer Co. They directed me to Anheuser Busch, who actually OWNS the brewery now in Cincy, Ohio that brewed and distributed Mackeson. The VERY pleasant woman on the phone not only told me “no”, but she even suggested ways for me to go about my search as well as similar beers that I might find for him (I know better than to buy a knockoff). For the last 3 days I’ve been researching and networking, on the web and by phone, to see where it would end up. Finally, I decided to contact Carib Brewery. No dice, no one would answer the phone. I ended up on their distributor page, and found some local distributors and made a few calls. Again with the “no’s” – until I reached one in which the young lady gave me a number for Carib that would most assuredly answer the phone after I remarked that no one would respond. It was the contact that the distributorship had on file, located in the US. So, I gave it a shot. To my surprise, someone answered the phone. A very nice gentlemen, and one that I began to realize was likely not accustomed to having his number given out, or speaking to an individual consumer. I gave him my well rehearsed question about the possibility of finding it in the US. His response, again “no”. Fan-freakin’-tastic… I then began my questions about how I could go about asking someone in the Carribean to import it, then speaking about the history of the beverage and how it ended up in this way. I quoted dates, and Whitbread, and the Mackeson boys as well as the implementation of his own company. With a bit of surprise in his voice, he remarked about how I’d “obviously done my homework”. I chuckled and this was his response: “I will tell you that we are working on the distributorship in the US. I can tell you it will be soon. Obviously, I can’t give you anymore details than that, but it will be soon.” When I queried what “soon” was in his world, he explained that it wouldn’t be this year, but they have a ballpark estimate of mid-2011. He explained that he was aware of the ground-swell of Mackeson drinkers in the US and they do pay attention to the public’s interest of having it again within the US.
    In conclusion – there will be Mackeson. They will distribute it here and those who enjoy it will, no doubt, be happy.
    I don’t even drink the stuff, but I still have his number… ;)

  19. Mag says:

    Thank you for your tenacity! This is really good news. Mackeson XXX is my favorite as well and I’ve not had much luck finding it in Indiana either. Great work, Beth! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  20. Anne says:

    Yes! I have been waiting so long. In fact I have been looking for it as well. Please update the info if you hear anymore news.

  21. choko says:

    http://guardian.co.tt/business/2011/05/27/ansa-mcal-investing-millions-future

    Norman A Sabga, Chairman and Chief Executive at ANSA McAL, said the company has bought the world rights from Mackeson for every country in the world except the United Kingdom and Europe. “Quite frankly, sales in the European Union are less than the sales in Trinidad, but because it’s tied into other products in a multinational company, they could not separate it. In terms of the potential for that brand, we think it is phenomenal. And it was a no-brainer in terms of the acquisition because the royalty we were paying to the principle, it pays for itself,” Sabga said. He said the Group also decided to invest $310 million in the construction of a new clay block plant at Longdenville, Chaguanas.

    “The decision was made, not that the market was declining, but we have right now three kilns and some of the kilns are over 45 years old. “Therefore, if we are staying in the business, we needed to invest in these operations. “The technology that we have bought is state-of-the-art and it will, in fact, use far less energy and far less labour,” he said. Sabga said there will no longer be a grading of its blocks with the use of the newly-acquired block-making technology, and that the plant’s output will equal that of the three kilns ANSA McAL now owns. He said the first commercial production from the new plant will be in August 2012. “We’re investing in areas in which we have expertise, which is one of our core businesses,” Sabga said.

    May 27, 2011
    Trinidad Guardian

  22. Randy says:

    What is the latest on Mackeson XXX. I did reach the probable importer to the USA market and had contacted them by phone in early 2011. They had stated they thought we should call back in November, but I lost their number. Is it here yet?

  23. Johned says:

    Still looking for Mackeson in the SW-WA/NW-OR area, with no success so far – any leads or updates appreciated!

  24. Laura says:

    I, too, am desperately seeking Mackeson! Any news would be FABULOUS!!!

  25. Dominic says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Just letting you know that Mackeson Triple XXX Stout will be back in the United States very soon. I manage the brand in Trinidad, and just so you know, we will begin exporting the 4.9 abv version within the next 4-8 weeks.

    Should you guys have any questions about the availability of the brand, please feel free to contact me @ dominic.lau@caribbrewery.com

    Regards

  26. Jonathan says:

    Awesome! Been looking for this for a long time! Now just to see if it’s been distributed in the NW Tacoma/Seattle area.

  27. To all of our Mackeson fans out there we have successfully kicked off Mackeson Triple Stout in the US with an initial focus on the East Coast (sorry). We are now being distributed in New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. We are working to expand the US footprint as quickly as possible but we need to do it smartly. If you cannot find it in those states please ask for it, it is amazing how influential a consumer is on getting good brands out there. Here is my direct contact information to provide if further assistance is required. Once again thank you for the business…………..

    James Webb
    SR Vice President
    Carib Beer USA/DCI Miami,Inc
    11403 NW 39th Street
    Miami, FL 33178
    Office 305.591.0885
    Cell 352.476.0317

  28. Dale P Carriere says:

    I’m in Arizona. Where can I get it? Probably have to order online.

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