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Quick, name an Oatmeal Stout. Chances are you thought of Samuel Smith. Is there another example of beer where you can name a style and immediately just one brewery comes to mind quite like this?
Hints of burgundy adorn the edges, other than that, it’s an all black stout. The oatmeal really is the star here. Along with flavor, it adds heft to the velvety texture.
The mineral flavors from the English hard water are there, too, but it just adds to the character. Quick hit of hops at the end, but the roasted and smokey flavors take over in the finish.
There’s a very good reason this is a classic.
The barrel aging is evident in the aroma with strong smells of oak, vanilla, and char. The oak comes through some in the flavor, as well, but it’s different than bourbon barrel aged beers. Initially, there is an interesting sweetness, but the charred wood and smoke cut through. A dry, boozey finish provided by the 6% ABV.
It’s good, but not quite great. I think for something boasting oak aging, I want more of that flavor.
Here is another I have been trying to get my hands on for a while, Southern Tier Choklat.
Darker than expected with a tight, light brown head. As expected, however, the aroma is full of chocolate. Bitter chocolate is indeed the most pronounced flavor, but there is so much more going on. Vanilla, some coffee, and oak. Wouldn’t be surprised if this were barrel aged (but not bourbon barrel aged). Long, dry, chalky finish with hints of marshmallow. The 10% ABV really warms on the way down, too.
To recap, huge flavors, well balanced, great texture, and a heaping helping of booze. What else would you expect from Southern Tier? It’s excellent.
This is a beer I have been trying to hunt down for a while, Left Hand Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout. This is the barrel aged version, which has me even more excited.
Pours black, of course. Sweet vanilla, charred oak, and currants in the aroma. Flavor is even more complex with bourbon, more char, and smoke added. The evidence of the barrel aging is more pronounced as it warms. I’m even getting a hint of cherry, which really works. Cocoa powder and anise in there, as well. Hops finally come in at the end to provide a bitter finish.
A big fan of this. Huge flavors, obvious impact from the barrel aging, complex, balanced, very smooth. And the name? You’d never guess it weighs in at 10.2% ABV!
I am always curious when I have a beer from a new brewery. Not only will I like it, but when I visit their website, follow them on Facebook, things like that, will I like them? Going to start my journey with Green Bay, Wisconsin’s Hinterland with their Luna Coffee Stout.
Coffee and bitter chocolate escape as soon as the bottle is opened. Coffee is, indeed, the dominant flavor here. Plenty of bitter chocolate to go with it, as well. The hops kick in at the back end for a little more bitterness.
Not much else to say. Loads of coffee with enough other flavors going on to make it interesting. I’d do this again.
I love the imagery of New Holland The Poet. Deep and dark with the image of a raven adorn the label. A not-so-subtle reference to a certain Mr. Poe (I’m going to ignore a football team with similar imagery. I’m a Browns fan).
Aroma is a pleasant mix of oatmeal and loads of bitter chocolate. Chocolate continues into the flavor and the oatmeal becomes more assertive in both the flavor and the ultra-creamy texture. It’s almost like velvet in a glass. Hops come in at the back end and linger. Phenomenal balance with sweetness from the oats and charred malt.
You may want to watch this video while you enjoy this treasure.
I have rather high expectations for New Holland El Mole Ocho. Firstly, I have high expectations from anything from new Holland. I really like the concept of this beer, as well. It’s exotic, yet still within the realm of familiar flavors.
Pours a bit lighter than expected. Rather than being a dark brown, it’s closer to a dark iced tea. Fluffy beige head that has not settled a nanometer since the pour. Intense aroma of bitter chocolate, bitter coffee, and chiles. Big, big flavor with the chiles becoming more prominent. The chiles give this a distinct fruitiness, but I am not getting the heat I expected (and wanted) considering how much flavor there is. Mix of bitter chocolate and coffee give the back end a full, round taste and feel.
El Mole Ocho is part of New Holland’s High Gravity Series, clocking in at 9.8% ABV. There is not even a hint of alcohol heat here.
Really digging on this beer. Daring flavors, velvety texture, great balance, and unique. My one complaint is that I would like more chile heat. But that’s just nitpicking.
Widely regarded as both one of the best Oatmeal Stouts as well as one of the best RISs, this Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout is not for the weak-palated.
Pours a creamy deep coffee that looks silky smooth. Floating on top is the darkest head you’ll ever see with incredibly tight, Guinnessesque froth. Smells of bittersweet chocolate, charred oak, and sweet toffee. Remarkably smooth as it coats the mouth. So many interweaving flavors including currants, sweet malt, deeply roasted malt, some char and smoke. Exceptionally well balanced. Oatmeal comes more in the texture than it does the flavor. The 9.4% ABV is surprisingly restrained. Not hot at all, just a pleasing warmth after the swallow. 60 IBUs, as well, but it doesn’t feel like nearly that many.
Amazing flavors, outstanding balance and complexity, delightful texture. It’s no wonder Hoppin’ Frog B.O.R.I.S. is a multiple GABF Gold Medal winner
Pouring as black as the coal that likely fueled engine No. 38, this stout from North Coast offers quite the inviting aroma, as well. Overflowing with caramel, currants, and raisins. Very smooth on the palate and a bit sweeter than expected as there is a flavor of burnt marshmallows. The hops come in late and are not particularly strong, but just enough to cut the sweetness before it gets cloying. Charred woods comes to the forefront as it warms. The dry finish also becomes more noticeable.
Overall, another very impressive brew from North Coast. It takes a bit to get used to all the fruit notes, but the charred and toasted character along with peppery hops lead to a very nice balance. Pick this up when you find it!
If the name has you thinking this is a straightforward chocolate stout, the aroma will let you know you’ve wandered into Imperial Stout territory with Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.
The pour is as dark as you’ll find with a fluffy dark tan head. The smell is filled with toasted and charred malts, dark fruits, and dark rum. The flavor is complex and powerful. A hit of alcohol comes first, followed by charred marshmallows, dark fruit, and chocolate. Noticeable kick from the hops leads to a long, dry, woody, slightly sour finish.
Very big, very tasty. Grade: B