Part of Sunshine Brewing’s continuing Eclipse series of dark beers, this one is brewed with vanilla, cold brew coffee and cacao. With those ingredients, my tasting notes have never been less necessary, but I can confirm that all those flavours are there in spades. So far this might seem like a by the numbers dessert stout, but there’s one key difference here: No lactose. The addition of lactose (unfermentable milk sugar) is almost ubiquitous in dessert stouts, so it was a daring move to skip it in this one, and a move that in my opinion has totally paid off. Without that extra sweetness and despite a 7.5 per cent ABV, the beer is lighter-bodied and fresher, with the flavours presenting more individually. It’s solved the problem I (and many other drinkers) have with dessert stouts that are often just too damned sweet and heavy. Big thumbs up to Sunshine Brewing for this one and fingers crossed that more brewers will kick the lactose in their stronger beers.