Elden Ring with Malted Milk Ball Imperial Porter – Beeps and Beers

Elden Ring is developed by FromSoftware, Inc and published by Bandai Namco Games. Malted Milk Ball Imperial Porter is made by Perrin Brewing Company. Article by Nick.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


Beeps and Beers to ring in the New Year? Yes, please.

If you’ve been following any of my recent posts, it quickly becomes apparent that while I was late to the game where Elden Ring was concerned, it became a serious investment for me once I started to play it. When it first released, it came out while I was out of state visiting some family, and by the time I had gotten back, it was on to other releases I was covering for Chalgyr’s Game Room.
 
Then the holidays got here, which usually leads to something of a slowdown in the gaming industry as the rush to get titles out before Black Friday more or less comes to an end until February or so the following year. I often refer to that period as the ‘dead time’ – and I died a whole lot playing Elden Ring. That didn’t however, keep me from nominating it as my Game of the Year for 2022.

From roughly Thanksgiving until New Year, Elden Ring was the game I played when I had the time. Some nights were more strenuous (looking at you Putrid Crystallins) and some that were much lower key (farming that big bird near the cliff for easy runes). Most nights fell in the middle, and that was one of the things that I really enjoyed about Elden Ring. There was this fantastic sense of exploration – it kind of reminded me of my old World of Warcraft days when I would explore every nook and cranny available to me with my rogue stealthing about, just to see what oddball little thing I could find. Elden Ring scratched that itch beautifully.


Of course, that often led to me wandering about areas that I wasn’t properly prepared for yet, and some battles I had to do my best to run away from (ahem… dragons in lakes). With so many nights of gaming, there were plenty of beers had during the process. Most of the time it was just fine, but there was absolutely a night where it did not help my cause a whole lot in Elden Ring, even while I was enjoying the beer itself immensely. 

I’ve mentioned Perrin in the past before (here and here), but one of my all-time favorite beers of theirs has to be the Malted Milk Ball Imperial Porter. When it first came out, it was actually one of my earliest bourbon barrel aged beers. Why does this make for a dicey adventure in Elden Ring? Well, it’s a strong beer and my reflexes were certainly not at their finest the afternoon I started to drink this one. This beauty pours a nice, thick, dark color into the glass. In terms of accidentally being thematically appropriate, the afternoon I opened this beer I was traveling the dark, swamp-like lands of Liurnia of the Lakes. It’s one of the game’s somewhat earlier regions, with a lot of bent trees, ankle-deep water, cemeteries and rundown churches to set the tone. 

It's a hauntingly beautiful area, especially during the in-game evenings – but large with a lot of north by south geography to it. Plenty of strange and undead creatures along the way, and a handful of interesting environmental puzzles. Those weren’t too terribly challenging. One example was a tower I had to get into that had me 'looking around' for turtles to poke. There were a lot of undead continually spawning around me, but they were slowly shambling about and not any kind of a real threat - just more of a distraction. 


During all of this, I certainly continued to enjoy the Malted Milk Ball during my explorations there. Being that it’s an imperial porter, that’s a style that I find tends to open up and display more distinctive flavors as it slowly warms to more of a room temperature. Given that this was a beer that I was simply sipping on, it had ample time to start to show off more of the vanilla bean and cocoa flavors that give it more of a desert-like profile. It’s got a bit of body and warmth to it – perfect for cold Michigan winters and I was playing this out in early December during a pretty substantial snowfall (a great excuse to stay inside and play Elden Ring – at least until I had to shovel the drive).

This is one of my favorite beers hands-down, and has been for years now. Elden Ring is probably one of my favorite games in years also. So the match seems solid until you start to get a bit deeper into the bottle of this one. It rings in at a 12% ABV due to its imperial style and the warm booziness that comes from the beer resting in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels for nine months. This would be an excellent beer even without the bourbon finish, but personally I think bourbon barrel really helps to further accentuate the warm vanilla undertones as the brew warms up. 

Now, where does this pairing go wrong? Well… remember the dragons in the game I bemoaned earlier? There’s one in this region too. There’s a need to sneak behind him and pick up an item. It’s a fun, tense little moment – and you can pick it up, hop on your horse Torrent and ride out of there safe and sound as the one-slumbering dragon wakes up and starts to throw a hissy fit flying around looking to destroy you. 


The problem was, the further I got into that bottle, the more I wanted to go back and face that dragon. Spoiler alert – I was not ready for that particular encounter, but that did not preclude me from attempting it about a dozen times before I wizened up enough to give up on it for now. A good strong beer like that does not necessarily make for good in-game decisions or reflexes as it turns out. It did however, make for an entertaining and memorable afternoon of gaming and that’s what matters most.

I already reviewed Elden Ring recently and scored it a 9.5 out of 10. I’m completely comfortable doing the same for Malted Milk Ball Imperial Porter as well. 

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