74 / 100
Tall pint can purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a pleasant ebony black brown colour, with a very fine head from the nitrogenation. No reverse cascade, but the bubbles are lovely and fine, forming in swirling squalls when the glass is tilted. Body has a bit of heft to it, or else it pretends it's that way due to the fine bubbling.
Nose is extremely pleasant. Loads of toasty malt and sweeter milk chocolate characters. Stacks of vanilla as well, which creates a sheen of smoothness over the whole thing. It doesn't have a huge deal of complexity, but what's there is very good indeed.
Taste is again very smooth, very approachable and very drinkable. It's not overly complex, but it does have those slight toasty coffee notes and a chocolate liquidity to it. The back is very light, which is indeed not unexpected, but it stops it from expressing much in the way of subtleties or secondary characters.
Feel is very smooth but light, and the thin body does give it a slight watery quality. It suits the beer though.
Very drinkable, and very approachable. This is the sort of beer I could see myself drinking a pint of, and then another pint. And then I realise it's really not that sessionable and I fall over.
Pours a dark brown colour, with nice beige head good and foamy. Decent crown with some nice speckled lacing around as well. Fairly opaque really with just a murk of colour at the edge. Looks good.
Smells very lovely. Nice smoky but also an odd chipotle character with a slight heat. Sweet cacao and some mild coffee character as well. Definitely my jam; well balanced though even then.
Tastes a little empty, especially upfront. Develops some smoky character and mild chilli heat late but upfront you want that choc and coffee roast to hit you and instead it's just a mild meek caramel note upfront. Yeah kinda saccharine and sweet then the smoke and slightly savoury notes come in late and basically just deliver this very late savoury character. Quite disappointing, really, because these notes are my jam but it's not delivered particularly effectively.
Mouthfeel is a little thin, some nice smooth mouth presence early but thins out; slight tickle of heat on the back.
Drinks fine but definitely lacks the front presence and it just feels a little empty as a result.
75 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale. This is a Smoked Oatmeal Stout, according to the label.
Pours a deep, glossy black brown—a lovely ebony colour, with a slickness across it which makes it shiny. Head is a very fine ring of beige which leaves really pleasant, intricate lace. Body has more weight than you'd expect from 5.5% ABV. I really like the look.
Nose is pretty reasonable. It has a lightness to it that stops it from being really complex, but it does manage to provide a pleasant blend of toasty dark characters with a whiff of smoke. The smoke is very judicious—it certainly overwhelm. Instead, it banks on a pleasant nuttiness instead. Pretty nice.
The taste is pretty good, and I think it steps it up a notch on the nose. There's smoke on the front—it's not a powerful, bacony smoke, but it adds some pleasant savouriness to the start. This then creates a nice contrast with some smooth nutty sweetness through the centre. It has a peanut quality to it, perhaps due to the savouriness on the front. Finish dries out quite nicely, with a punctuation mark of roast to cap it off.
Overall, I really like it. It's a smooth, drinkable brew, with some really nice characters to it. But better than having nice characters, they all wrap together into something coherent and impressive.
73 / 100
Day 2 of my #fletchmas Beer Advent Calendar.
Pours a dark cola colour, with a nice tightly-packed head of light beige bubbles, thin but attractive. Retains a light film on the top, and some thin lacing trails. Looks pretty good.
Smells roasty, like a good espresso, but lightly sour/weak like a brown ale, like the malt base is a little lighter than it could be. Hint of some meaty smoke character as well, with a light cherry note as well. Nice, if a little timid in its milieu.
Taste is a little ballsier, in a good way. Roasty from the get-go, there's plenty of that deep espresso spice with a hint of burntness on the front. That smoke character comes through stronger on the mid, which makes me think it's actually part of the malt bill rather than just a by-product. I may be wrong though as the finish is mostly just dark malt; nice smooth chocolate character towards the finish and ends with a nice bite of roasty bitterness; yes, very pleasant palate all told.
Mouthfeel is a little fizzy; the carbonation sizzles through the malt base which belies a little thinness. Ultimately fluid but a little too busy in the mouth.
Drinks well though, and it's an amazing coincidence that the weather's turned shit on dark beer day. Good roasty notes, and good malt balance with it; not sweet but a good mix of character.
60 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a slightly watery looking deep brown, light and thin in the body. Head forms only a kind of off-white mesh of bubbles that nonetheless does a good job of forming complex, warped-looking lace. Carbonation is fairly fine, but very swift through the body. Looks only okay.
Nose smells almost of nothing more than strawberry icecream. It's straight up the pink layer from a home-brand pack of Neopolitan. As it warms, it seems as though there's a bit more subtlety to the strawberry note, and some organic notes give it a bit more gravitas—it starts to smell a little like real strawberries. The stout characters are still muted, although if you look for them they're there, giving just a milk milk chocolate underpinning.
Taste is a little bit worse though. Here, the strawberry note connects somewhat with a light bitterness, giving it a medicinal kind of tone. At the same time though, that toasted bitterness is what makes you finally believe it's a stout. There's a creaminess through the middle as well—it gives more notes of strawberry ice-cream, and a slight nuttiness towards the back as it starts to abut the toasted bitterness. Feel is fairly smooth and slick from a low carbonation, but the body is actually pretty thin.
Overall, it ends up tasting a little bit gimmicky. The strawberry character is certainly prominent, so it delivers what it should, but it doesn't necessarily do much for the beer as a whole. I was ready for it to show me that this was a good idea, and it didn't.
76 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Marketime Foods in Fremont, Seattle. Packaging date is 22nd of August, so about a month and a half old. This version is 8.1% ABV.
Pours a deep, solid ebony brown colour, with a very fine film of pale chocolate brown across the top of the glass. Despite its lack of volume, it leaves very fine, intricate lacing. Carbonation is also fine, and swiftly moves through the body. Looks good.
Nose is pleasantly toasty and integrated, with layers atop a firm base note of dark sweetness. There's hint of liquorice, smoke, s'mores and even a slight salt or mineral note. It's complex, but it all sits together really nicely.
Taste is a little bit thinner, which is surprising because it's a reasonably big beer. This lets the roast character become a bit bitter and astringent. Still, there's rounded notes through mid palate and still a good deal of complexity. Through the centre comes aromatic notes of mallow and rosewater. The back has some interesting notes as well—I get a little almond, watered-down mint and even a savoury note like roasted chicken skin. It's very interesting.
Overall, I think there's a lot to unpack and it's genuinely really very nice. There's plenty of interest to it when you look for it, but otherwise it sits as a really quite pleasant and approachable, balanced beer.
Oatmeal stout using lavender flowers instead of hops, brewed for GABS 2016 and tried there on tap.
Pours a coffee colour, dark to the edge. Beige head is nice but could maybe be denser. Not bad looking.
Chocolate-caramel type aroma with a hint of roast. Slight floral note but very subtle. Touch of meatiness to it as well and a hint of zestiness. Not bad.
Palate is roasty, with a fairly big dark malt character. Develops some floral notes late-mid that carry onto the back and give the whole thing a dark fruit kind of character. The back-palate is really quite sweet, possibly a bit too much and I feel like some hops here would really do the job of cleaning it up. Interesting drop though.
Full-bodied, slight tingle of carbonation and a hint of warming alcohol. Not bad.
Decent drop, I don't get a huge hit of lavender, but at the same time I feel a huge hit of lavender would taste horrible. So kudos for the control of that particular flavour while at the same time I feel like a judicious use of some hops would have brought the balance this beer is just slightly lacking.
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer for me by Sam.
Pours a pleasant ebony black-brown, with a fluffy, slightly ephemeral head of beige that leaves good, sheeting lace. Carbonation is fairly fine but swift. The body looks like it has weight, but the lack on languor to the carbonation makes me question it. Looks decent all up though.
Nose is quite pleasant, with the vanilla very prominent, and providing a creamy sweetness to the aroma. There's just a mild dash of darkness on the back, which suggests perhaps some toasted brioche and turns the overall aroma a little towards aniseed. Overall, it's very sweet—I'm hopeful there's something to balance it on the palate.
Taste is also very sweet, but it pretty much survives it. It's vanilla-saturated from front to back, with the flavour providing a creaminess and the mouthfeel accentuating it. There is a slight spice or bite towards the back—maybe aniseed or bitter almonds, and a very slight dive towards roast. This is all masked somewhat by the vanilla, which is almost overwhelming throughout.
Overall, it ends up feeling a bit too chewy and almost sodden with vanilla. The vanilla might be a nice addition to another beer that needed some smoothness to even it out, but when it's the main event, the support act and the encore, it gets a bit too much.
62 / 100
Imperial Salted Oatmeal Stout, brewed for GABS 2016. Never got to try "Inkblot Stout I" assuming it existed. Tried at GABS in Melbourne.
Pours a coffee colour, pale brown at the very edges. Beige foamy head, looks pretty nice. Maybe a bit pale, especially given the 'inkblot' name. But not bad.
Smells spicy and pleasant. Clove notes, touch of meat and smokiness, and some woody notes. Not a lot of salt, but not bad.
Tastes fairly sweet, with chocolate malt abounding upfront. Develops some coffee notes midway then develops into spice territory, with star anise and cinnamon and a touch of clove. Some oaky notes on the back and maybe a slight spicy heat? Not bad.
Body is a bit full-on, feels quite thick, with a kick of alcohol at the back. Bit heavy for my liking.
Not bad, but I'm not getting a really unique character from this. Tastes like a boozey, sweet stout, which is not a bad thing but it seems to under-deliver on its promise.
83 / 100
Oaked Coffee Chilli Oatmeal Stout brewed for, and tried at, GABS 2016 in Melbourne.
Pours a very dark brown colour, but with a clear body. Beige head, sparsely webbed and no real retention. Looks a bit flat, as I expect from a chilli beer. Great colour though.
Smells like jalapenos, as I've come to expect from Shenanigans and their use of chilli. Capsicum notes, dry with some accompanying pepper, cumin and a sensation of spice. Some salty notes as well, and a big hit of coffee. Big coffee and spice. Smells great.
Taste is roasty, and sweet, and a whole lot else as well. Coffee notes, some chocolate and a big dry chilli character towards the back, giving a large spicy heat that just augments the sweetness overall. The sweetness lingers through the heat on the back making it appetising even while the chilli gets pretty intense and even painful. It's a pain that I love though, and a familiar pain from these ingenious bastards.
Full body, wonderfully smooth with an undeniable chilli heat but a great velvety padding to keep you comfortable.
Wow. They do chilli like virtually nobody else (Garage Project excepted). What a great beer.
Later edit: This ended up my number 2 beer of the festival (although initially rated higher than my eventual number 1 I think)
82 / 100
Pours a dark brown colour, with nice pale ochre coloured head, fairly whispy with some bubbles at the edge. Decent lace. Looks alright, yeah.
Smells malty, roasty, dark. Notes of nut and dark earthy spice. Cinnamon, hint of caramel. Very smooth, pleasant.
Taste is super smooth too. Roasty upfront then more intense roast midway, gets bold and bitter late-mid then develops a chocolate and oatmeal finish, really seamless but big and bitter too. Quite spicy over it all but not prickly, just the complex flavour there with a silky mouthfeel. Bitter, roasty, complex and interesting with just enough sweetness to carry. Lovely.
Drinks wonderfully. Really emblematic of what oatmeal stouts should be. Big and ballsy on top of a fairly light body softened by judicious oatmeal usage.
73 / 100
Pint at Supercoin.
Pours a dark cola colour, dense foamy head, beige, nice lacing but sinks steadily. Pretty nice but more retention would be nice.
Smells chocolatey, roasty and somewhat bitter. Nutty with pecan and hazelnut notes, maybe a slight marzipan note adding to the bitterness, but nicely blended with chocolate sweetness. Very intriguing and alluring smell.
Feels too cold for the taste. And yet taste is very very bitter. Unsweetened chocolate upfront with cocoa nibs, develops some coffee bitterness midway, then strong hops coming through, adding resinous to the already heavily-layered bitterness mix. Has an almost flaxy character to the dankness. Very bitter and earthy, but then a nice lift from the chocolate sweetness late. Otherwise it's all bitter. Nice oatmeal stout palate, it really ramps up the bitterness without going into harsh territory.
Smooth, just gets a touch sharp on the back. Otherwise a light but full body. Oats have certainly done a number on this bad boy.
Can't say I love it overall. Lots of character, good balance yet it just seems too bitter and spicy for me to throw back, and just a touch more chocolate flavour (not necessarily the sweetness, but the flavour) would bring me to orgasm with this beer.
74 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a pleasantly thick black-brown, with a minor head of beige that persists as a thin ring and islands of coarser bubbles. Lacing is good. Body has some serious weight for its relatively low ABV, and the carbonation is fine and languid. Looks very good.
Nose is very nice. Toasty and complex, with a breadth of dark malt flavours giving it a pleasant range of aromas. Toast, chocolate, marshmallow, with livelier notes of rosewater and coconut. I like it.
Taste is also really good. Pleasant, robust malt flavours provide toasty darkness, but the main event dances above this, with lighter, sweeter notes of pink marshmallow, lightly toasted coconut and peanuts. The back palate is a little light, and the carbonation is just a tad aggressive on the back, but there's a persistent nuttiness that helps lengthen the palate rather pleasantly.
Feel is, as I mentioned, just slightly overcarbonated, with a slight seltzer fizz on the back palate when it could be smooth and light.
Overall though, this is a tasty beer, with a lot of good things going for it. I like the malt complexity, which is balanced and nuanced. All up, it's a really very tasty stout.
49 / 100
12oz can purchased from WhichCraft in Austin, TX.
Pours a solid, muddy brown, slightly lighter at the edges, but mostly fine and opaque. Body is a little thin, but not too bad. Carbonation is certainly pretty low, but it has enough to form a mild filmy head of beige that sits as a mild but creamy ring. Looks decent enough.
Nose is also decent. Slight toasty notes, tending a little towards the overly sweet, but with something perhaps a little metallic or a little smoky and meaty to counterbalance. It works pretty well.
Taste is a bit of a let-down. There's a metallic twang around the back that gives it a vague note of stomach acid, and the beer itself is too thin to cover it up. There are some intriguing notes though—again a little smoke or bacon, and a weird chocolate note like raw mudcake batter. It's interesting, but overall the balance isn't good.
Feel is quite thin—it's yet another thing that makes it hard for the beer to paper over its flaws.
Disappointing all up. My first, and probably for some time, until I go back to Texas, only beer from Grapevine and it really doesn't much stand up. It's not awful, but there's certainly a lot to it that could be perceived as not ideal. Even a very bland stock-standard Oatmeal Stout may have been a better bet.
Bottle given to me by Jez (I think) for some occasion or other, not my birthday this year I'm pretty sure, but maybe. Shared with Andrew and Iain.
Pours a dark brown. Beige head, fairly pale. Nice density but dissipates quickly. Lacing is alright. Pleasant but unretentive.
Smells a bit oxidised but enough character to carry it. Smells like rich English toffee, with a dark chocolate edge. Touch of smoke, general roast character is not distinctive. Pleasant.
Taste is decent enough, big chocolate notes that gets somewhat toffee-esque midway then mutes on the finish; possibly a bit stale. Ends somewhat roasty with some vinous and smokey notes. Mild pepper and a touch of brûlée. Just a touch oxidised maybe, just feels a bit muffled, but the flavours there are nice with good robustness.
Smooth up to midway. Then bitty and a bit dry on the back. Still fairly consistent.
Decent stout, fairly middling because it's just a touch older than its prime.
72 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a flay, gooey brown colour with some solid hazing to it. Body looks pretty heavy, possibly due to the oatmeal. Head is not present, unfortunately, and the beer looks devoid of carbonation, and hence a little dead and flat. Shame.
Nose is slightly toasty with a hint of coffee and a slight vanilla fragrance. There's some pleasant biscuity tones and some toasted bread. It's all pretty familiar, but it's quite nice.
Light, grainy notes on the front with the oatmeal and rye coming through immediately. Pleasant mild, toasty bread again in the middle with a bit of chocolate. Smooth on the back palate, with a clinging suggestion of spice. It's very pleasant.
Feel is smooth and thick, but fluid enough to keep up the drinkability.
I liked this a lot. I also tried it at Harts some weeks after GABS and it was also quite good, even though I didn't really remember what I thought of it at GABS. I'm pleased that looking back on my notes now I see I enjoyed it then as well.
75 / 100
Pours a brown colour, fairly dark. Head is tan, dense but not quite nitro-dense. Good medium retention though, looks good.
Smells chocolatey, with a good roastiness to it. Good and ballsy; not too robust with caramel notes and sweet coffee to balance. Very enticing.
Tastes dark, roasty. Chocolate notes upfront that descend into mostly roasty bitterness on the mid-to-late. Some notes of licorice and clove and espresso coffee, with a slight graininess midway through. Maybe a bit dour/bitter in the end, finishes a little ashy. But well constructed.
Smooth mouthfeel, nice full body with a touch of booze. Not totally smooth but pleasant.
Dry-ish. Nice flavours and good balance though.
Pours a brown colour, fairly dark at the edges. No head. Otherwise pretty nice looking.
Smells like good, rich chocolate. Touch of oaty grain to it with some vanilla sweetness and a touch of spicy espresso. Rye as well. Grainy; tasty.
Rye is big on the palate as well. Grainy upfront that develops some nice dark spice, with a touch of other pie spice coming through as well. Smooth and sweet with vanilla notes as well.
Decent body but an alcohol edge to it.
Decent stout, with a nice rye character. Get more rye than oats, but I'm OK with that.
59 / 100
750ml corked and caged brown bottle purchased from Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View, CA. Brought back to Sydney, Australia where I shared it with Sam and Chris.
Pours a deep black-brown colour, but with a surprisingly light body that sits fairly thin in the glass. Head is a fine ring of pale brown around the edge of the glass. Specks of lace form around the outside of the glass. Looks reasonable, but it's pretty timid for the style.
Nose is quite pleasant. Light malty roast, with a slight funk around the edges. Hint of something slightly vinous and a little salty in places. Roast is fairly subdued all things considered, and there's really not much hint of the barrel except for the wildness. It's reasonable though.
Taste is light and fairly empty for the large part—as though the wilder notes have taken out all the body, but not replaced it with funk or acidity. Instead, it leaves the roast feeling rather empty on the top with a high-cocoa chocolate character devoid of sweetness. Very dry finish. Feel is very light with just a linger of roast coating the back palate.
Overall, this is bitterly disappointing. Beer Geek Breakfast is good, Anchorage is excellent, but the combination of the two is way below what I expected. This should be a really wonderful beer—and it just really, really isn't.
Tried on-tap at the brewery in Bermondsey when doing the mile. This was my last beer of the crawl.
Pours a reddish deep brown colour. Some light hazing still allows the light through despite the darkness of the colour. Body is fairly solid. Head forms a reddish beige crest of filmy opaque bubbles. Not much in the way of lace.
Toasty characters on the nose giving some dusty grain notes. There's a mild, wet sweetness as well but it's a bit ineffective. Overall, the nose just feels a little bit flat. Not unpleasant, just not very exciting.
Light entry on the palate with some olive notes. Slight roast characters come through along with a slight wheaty acidity. Very thin towards the middle and back, just leaving a touch of mild roast on the way to disintegration.
Feel is extremely light. I can imagine this beer on cask would probably be better in this regard.
Overall, this was only okay at best. It was a rather disappointing end to the crawl, which was otherwise excellent.
60 / 100
Tried on cask at The Porcupine on Charing Cross Road, London.
Pours a solid brown-black colour with a pleasing fine head of beige that persists fairly well. Slightly thin in the body, which is a bit of a disappointment, especially for an oatmeal stout. Otherwise it looks fine.
Nose is fairly standard stuff. Rounded toasty characters, with a decent weight backing it up. But that's about it. There's not a great deal of complexity or layers of aroma. So it's fine, but not terribly exciting.
Taste is clean with a bit of weight and sweetness to it finally. More simple toasty notes, fairly well-rounded. The feel helps with this, giving a smoothness to the beer overall. On the back though, there's a slight medicinal note which undermines the rest a little bit. Still it's decent overall.
Overall, it's okay. Only really okay though—this really doesn't do much out of the ordinary, although it ticks the boxes just fine.
75 / 100
On-tap at Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew during Good Beer Week 2013.
Pours a deep brown-black colour, quite opaque, yet with a surprisingly light body. Head is an ecru bubbly ring that leaves some pretty solid lacing. It looks pretty good.
Nose is wholesome and oaty, with some speckled accents of star anise. Rich and bold, with a sharpness coming through more prominently than a smooth, richness. But that oaten wholesomeness really ties it together. It's lovely.
Smooth entry on the palate, with some anise and a seedy character. Sharp mid-palate as the roast character builds up. Some dark fruit notes also appear, stewed in a boozy hint. The finish has some smoothness just before the end: perhaps a slight uptilt of vanilla before the roast punctuates the finish.
Feel is lighter than I expected, but still pretty decent, and it works with some of the spicier characters which come through on the palate.
Overall, this is smooth, but with oomph. Plenty of flavour and plenty of interest. Yep, this is a very decent beer indeed.
79 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a gruff black colour, with enough lightness at the edges to show you its true, deep brown hue. Head is fine, but minimal, forming a crema at the edges of the glass, but leaving little lacing. Carbonation is also fine, even though the body is pretty light and fluid. Overall, it's decent without being exceptional.
Nose is very pleasant. Deep roasted sweetness, giving dark chocolate and toasted bread characters. This mingles with an earthiness and a deeper dark fruit character. Perhaps even the most subtle hint of smoke—perhaps just a reverberation from the dark malt. Overall, it's extremely good: plenty of complexity, but melded into a big, supple whole.
Taste is lighter, but still very suitable. Clean roasted bite forms the forefront of the palate, giving a slightly charred, almost dry stout character. Beyond this is all the molten smoothness of sweet cocoa and chocolate, held up by a savoury dark grain bread depth. Some faint berry notes flit in on the finish. Feel is smooth enough, while remaining very fluid.
I'm not sure exactly what it is, but there's something extremely nostalgic about this beer for me: perhaps it harks back to one of the early craft beers that got me interested in beer. Whatever it is, it's very tasty nonetheless, and very, very easy to drink. Temple really do consistently do excellent beers.
79 / 100
Nitro-tap at Alibi Room in Vancouver, BC.
Deep reddish black with some clarity. Very fine off-white head and great lace sheeting. Solid body which forms some static carbonation when tilted. Nice.
Nose is sharp and roasty, but with a softness that suggests high cacao chocolate more than charred grain. It's a little one dimensional (that's about all you get), but it's nice enough.
Taste has a smooth entry, but is backed up by an impressively unexpected roast character, sharp and direct, with a slight ashy bite to it. This develops throughout the back, with solid nuances until the smoothness closes over it on the finish, leaving it very clean. Nice stuff.
Nice stuff. It's subtle, even with its big roasted hit, but this really has a lot to offer. Really good on nitro.
71 / 100
From cask at the Horse Brass Pub in Portland, OR.
Pours a deep black colour, with an impressive, crackling brown head: sudsy, frothy and turgid from the hand pump. Body looks solid and firm, especially considering it's a pretty light beer.
Sweet roasted characters on the nose, with a hint of savoury malt which gives it a twang of smokiness and the richness of BBQ. Really very pleasant indeed.
Taste is very light, and despite all illusions to the contrary, not that thick and rich, so the pull from the cask that leaves it so velvety but uncarbonated doesn't help it that much. Mild light maltiness comes through with a smooth roast that never leaves any bite (although no harshness either). More of that BBQ sweetness, and a hint of milkiness or perhaps the oatmeal. It's very solid, although the feel is surprisingly dim and dull from a cask.
Overall, it's a good beer. But it got less and less exciting the more I drank. After getting over the novelty of a properly pulled hand-pumped stout, it just got more and more pedestrian to me.
86 / 100
Tried at the 4 Pines space party in April 2012.
Pours a very dark, dark brown. Nice creamy head that retains well but leaves curtains of beige lace as it slowly sinks. Looks lovely.
Bitter chocolate on the nose. Roasty but sweet, with hints of vanilla pods and cinnamon. Nice spice edge but it's really all roast. Like an oatmeal stout should be.
Taste is smooth, and far smoother than a lot of oatmeal stouts I've had - in spite of it being a hallmark of the style. Sweet start: grainy with chocolate notes, then develops a strong and fairly rich roasty-burnt bitterness midway that lasts all the way to the back. Hints of peppery spice rise up to join it late-mid. Finishes rich, chocolatey and smooth. Quite beautiful and balanced, with the hallmarks of a stout but no rough or sharp edges at all. Lovely.
Smooth body, but it fills the mouth with flavour. A bit dry; good.
Lovely oatmeal stout and just exemplary of the style. Definitely worth a try if they ever brew this again.
69 / 100
Pours a dark black colour (is there any other type of black, I ask myself), tinge of brown up to teh light. Head is beige, fairly dense and creamy with nice lace left behind. Very nice.
Smell is quite smokey and dark. Sweet dark chocolate aroma with a touch of burnt wood and some musty notes. Slightly sour, yeah, stouty. Not bad.
Taste is quite dark, and it builds on the initial darkness, getting more bitter and slightly sour with roasty notes and a touch of espresso. Very chocolatey early-mid and hints of pepper and berries on the back. Hint of capsicum on there, yeah, sweet, spicy and bitter in good, but not perfect, balance. Pretty decent.
Bit sizzly, carbonation is all right. Good body to it.
Bit sour overall, but not bad.
70 / 100
Pours much lighter than I expected, more a deep brown than a brown-black, and still letting light pass through rather easily. Head is yellowish beige, large-bubbled and frothy where agitated, but otherwise forming a thin film. Pretty good static carbonation when tilted, but overall, it just doesn't win me with its look.
Nose is dry but pleasantly roasted, with grainy cereal notes and a hint of coconut. It's rather mild in aroma, but the characters it has are very pleasant.
Taste is similar, and it has a really nice smoothness on the back palate that melds with the dark grain notes to almost give the suggestion of chocolate, even though there's absolutely minimal sweetness. Finish is quite dry, and with that mealy cereal character that suggests you have another sip. It's light on the palate, really, but it's pretty drinkable.
Certainly something I'd happily drink again, and something with plenty of dry roasty character that is eminently sessionable. No bad at all.
71 / 100
Pours a dark cola colour with beige head, nice and dense with crema appearance. Lace is thick and dense, could be stickier. Looks good.
Smells dark and spicy. Plenty of coffee bean, licorice and tobacco. Hint of cocoa on there and maybe some cranberry. Pretty nice spicy nose.
Taste feels a bit empty at time. Dark from get-go with bitter chocolate, touch of coffee on the mid that returns for the back with touch of pepper, licorice and a dry pull from the yeast. Subdued palate compared to nose which is not unwelcome. Decent.
Smooth mouhfeel, velvety with nice yeast pull but otherwise glidey as.
Good oatmeal stout; great, even. All the right characters in good proportion.
61 / 100
Purchased from New Beer Distributors in New York.
Pours a dark red-black, with a surprisingly light body, and a surprisingly tame head of mocha-brown, which just forms a bubbly film on the top of the glass. Minimal lacing, and the lack of body disappoints me a little bit. Was expecting more from a beer weighing in at 7.5%.
Nose is pleasantly toasty and rich, with a biting coffee fragrance through the centre, which actually seems to isolate itself from the rest of the flavours. Pleasant sweetness, however, giving touches of musk to counterpoint the coffee. Nice.
Taste is smooth and roasty, with coffee characters coming through nicely, but the body is woeful. Extremely thin and watery, without any depth of thickness to cushion the stout flavours. Still, the coffee flavours are done nicely, and matched against the roasted maltsâin particular, the dry coffee afterpalate is moreish and savoury.
There's things to like, and things to dislike about this one. It's got some lovely flavours, and the coffee is worked in very nicely with the rest. But there's no basis for it, and the 7.5% is high for a beer with so little body. You feel it after a while, and you wonder why you should.
Pours a very dark-brown, mahogany around the edge. Head is ochre and modest when poured, sinks to leave nothing more than a meagre cloud. Lace is OK but not great. Looks alright I guess
Why so cold, my love? This is served about 10° lower than it should be. After warm-up it smells quite roasty, with a sour tinge. What embarrassing characters are they trying to hide by serving it so cold? Touch of rich cocoa? No, that's fine. Slight blackberry? No. Oak touch? No. Slight funk? Maybe, but it all smells quite good to me.
Taste is a big disappointment. Very sour, almost to a rank extent. Burnt espresso notes on the front move quickly to that slight infected oak note that sits uncomfortably atop the roasty malt. For 'Belgian chocolate', this has no chocolate and no Belgian flavour (though that's not what was meant by Belgian here). Very weak for the most part and I'm starting to wonder if this is actually infected. Actually tastes like our infected chocolate homebrew stout. Sour, insipid. Just off.
Mouthfeel is thin, yeah. Not much texture, a slight carbonation tingle, but not much. Meh.
There is a 2/3 full glass of this sitting in front of me that's been left by someone else. I'm not surprised. This beer leaves me with two options - 1, this is a genuinely bad beer that has completed missed the mark, or 2, this is actually infected. But in that case why would Redoak still be charging $7.50 per bottle? What a joke. Do yourself a favour and avoid this.
69 / 100
Tasted on the morning of New Year's Eve, to complement a breakfast of leftover turkey sandwiches and brie.
Pours a deep brown, but certainly not a black colour, with a fine, oily and filmy head of yellowish beige bubbles. Some large shapes of lacing form, but the body doesn't want to support anything more. Decent enough, but not that exciting.
Nose is roasty and sharp, with a slight dark boozy note giving some red grapeskin tannins and a little sweetness. Not a lot of the chocolate to it, but the nose is very mellow and deep.
Flavour is round and roasted for the most part, and pleasantly, the smoothness burgeons on the back, giving a roasted grain and nut character to wash away some early astringency. Chocolate sits as a light smooth liquor in the middle of the palate, but it's certainly not very pronounced. Feel is smooth enough, but sits very light - an extra thickness would elevate this beer significantly.
Still, this is a pretty tasty beer, and a roasty stout. It's not as smooth, heavy, complex or robust as the best examples, but the chocolate and oatmeal are both well used, and I think Lobethal knew what they were going for with this one.
Tasty with breakfast, too.
70 / 100
Pours a pleasantly thick deep and rigid black, refusing to give up any hint of its true hue, even when held to the light. Head is initially thick and mountainous, although it dissipates a little to a single finger of foam, leaving behind a trail of sudsy thick lace - indeed, it's almost too solid to call lace. Overall, a very good look for a beer.
Nose is a pleasantly leavened dark roasted character. Indeed, the oatmeal seems to give it a light cereal sweetness, which takes the edge off the heavily charred character which is its basis otherwise. Light whiffs of latex and even a slight bubblegum character leaven it yet again. Although it's fundamentally a very dark beer, it has some interesting notes which bring it out of the depths.
Taste is a little more disappointing. Certainly more of the latex and bubblegum notes, but here the lack of black depths wears a little thin, leaving very little residual bitterness on the back. Coupled with this, there's not a huge degree of body to the palate, so it feels both empty, and lacking in flavour. In some respects, this helps the drinkability, and surprisingly brings the beer into the realms of sessionability.
An interesting beer, and one which is surprisingly light and drinkable when you get down to it. I didn't expect such a readily smooth and light beer behind its black and twisted facade, but that's what I got.
77 / 100
7.2% ABV listed on my bottle. I see. I wonder if anything has changed.
Pours a very pleasant deep black-brown with a fine and chunky head of tan foam. Lacing is exceptional; almost solid in places, but leaving tiny intricate and complex patters down the glass. Body is pleasantly thick, but looks, oh I don't know, as though it's missing about .3 percentage points of ABV. Very nice looking brew.
Nose is very roasty, with sweet and slightly sweaty dark grain characters throughout. Good chocolate and a genuine hot oatmeal character to it, slightly more organic and natural than your average stout. There's something a bit raw about it, but it's genuinely very pleasant.
Taste is very smooth and drinkable, with a pleasant dark grain character, that hints at tobacco and dark orange chocolate. Pleasant lightness to it as well for th most part, only falling into bitter roasted territory on the finish, which just reminds you of what you're drinking. Quite tasty. Mouthfeel is light, but with a pleasant frothed milk consistency.
A very tasty oatmeal stout. Indeed, it's probably one of the best examples I've tasted. Lovely flavours, pleasant texture, great drinkability. A great drop of beer. Ninkasi have done it again.
60 / 100
Pours a dark, dark brown colour with a murky red tinge to it. Head is lacklustre, just a small film of dense bubbles. Luckily the lace it leaves is appealingly viscous, nice beige foam. Yeah, not bad.
Smell is very grainy. Lots of cereal aroma with puffed rice and corn providing sweet notes, but just a touch of light roast to it all. A hint of vanilla, milk chocolate and light cinnamon. Yeah, pretty sweet and ultimately just grainy. Pleasant, but underplayed and under-roasted.
Taste is fairly mild. Again with lots of grainy notes and quite sweet, but with a touch of dark roastiness providing some raw cocoa flavour blended with some rice notes, a touch of wholemeal bread and maybe some vanilla on the back? Finish is a bit lacking - has slight toasty bitterness that is quite prolonged but it's all very subdued. Nothing unpleasant here but I could just use more, it just tastes a bit watery overall.
Quite a lot of sizzle on the mouth and dry on the back. Bit thin overall so none of the dryness and sizzle is supported well. Not a big fan of this texture.
Yeah, mild and enjoyable enough stout. I've had more interesting oatmeal stouts though.
74 / 100
On tap at Harts Pub with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a nice opaque black brown, the colour of dark chocolate.
Head is fine but crusty with good lacing. Decent body to it. Nice.
Nose is pleasantly, but mildly roasted. Hint of leather, vegemite and soy sauce, with a smooth sweetness to back it up perhaps vanilla pastry. Not really robust, but very pleasant.
Taste is smooth and rich, with really nice mild stout characteristics, roasted bitterness that lingers, but a sharp bite of something fresher on the back. It could be a pleasant hop bite, but it's disguised with the darkness. Really pleasant structure, and quite sophisticated.
Tasty brew. Nice, smooth and well crafted. Could use a touch more body, and a touch more strength on the nose, but otherwise its an extremely well made oatmeal stout.
71 / 100
Pours a clear but very dark black-red, almost flashing with ruby, but almost too dark to see it. Head is a firm but filmy beige, getting towards crusty chocolate. Minimal lacing. Body is solid but a little light. It's alright, but I've seen better looking stouts.
Roasted notes with a hint of toasted oak, and a slight vinous acidity on the nose. Some deeper chocolatey notes come through, giving a good deep full character. Still, it's only subtle, and quite light.
Taste is where this beer comes into its element, with a big roasty character smoothed with a big dollop of vanilla, smooth cocoa and crushed grain sweetness. Still, very light, but it's also extremely approachable, and the smoothness makes you want to drink more and more of it. Mouthfeel is clear and smooth.
It's an extremely sessionable stout, which is a property that's often overlooked in the style. It has character to keep it interesting. It might be a little gentle and thin, genre-wise, but it's a more drinkable beer for it.
60 / 100
Pours a very dark brown, only colour is around the edge when held up to the light. Head is very generous, beige-coloured with large bubbles around the side, but nice dense foam on top, sinking unevenly but slowly. Lace is small and speckly, but yeah, great-looking stout here.
Smell is dark fruits at first, quite sour with plum and raisin notes. Hiding behind is a roasty, almost burnt, bitterness, espresso aroma mostly but with some light cherry on there as well. Hints of cocoa and maybe some black pepper. Fairly standard smell for a stout though, all the roasty/sour notes of dark malt, not bad but also nothing out of the ordinary.
Taste is alright but a bit thin overall. Fairly chocolatey throughout with dark, slightly sour cocoa on the very front and then late-mid as well. Some dark fruit notes come through mid-palate with plum, raisins and a small hint of peach as well. Roastiness dominates the back with a nice char/deep-roast espresso bitterness. It's distinct but not very potent or full. Hint of tobacco midway as well spices it up a bit. The palate has a very dry finish - not entirely sure why as it's not needed. Not a bad palate profile but it seems a little watery with the flavour never quite reaching fullness. They could extract a bit more flavour without upping the strength too much.
Texture is a bit thin too, which doesn't help proceedings.
A decent attempt at an oatmeal stout but frankly it's not a huge deal better than a good garage-brew batch. Good drinking though, it's something pleasant to put in your mouth.
Pours a rich, dark mahogany colour with only brown up to the light. Head is mocha-coloured and sparsely bubbled, sinks very quickly leaving a thin film behind. Not much lace, pretty blah, really.
Nice roasty nose, lots of espresso on that, slight charcoal character but sweet as well, with caramel and slight crème anglaise note at the back. Grainy as well, can smell oats absolutely once it's warmed up a bit. Less roasty now, more grainy, pretty nice.
Taste is fairly steady. Palate starts a bit weak, not a lot of malt on the front. Roast comes in midway and stays until the end. Lots of espresso bitterness and unsweetened chocolate with some meaty notes giving a sourness on the back. Slight aniseed spice towards the back - not a lot of character or profile to the palate, just has mild roasty bitterness come through. The only curious thing is that sourness, which I don't hugely enjoy. Not too bad as oatmeal stouts go, but not very interesting.
Feels a bit harsh at the front, actually, but goes down with oaty smoothness. A bit spicy overall actually but kudos for there being texture.
This drinks alright, but it has a heaviness to the roast character which puts me off a bit. I don't think I'm a fan of the style really, this has decent full flavour but just not smooth enough through the palate.
77 / 100
Pours a pretty decent dark brown, mahogany around the edge, but mostly black. Head is beautiful - medium-thick, dense and creamy foam that sinks slowly, bubbling like soap suds. Lace is thin but clings to the glass like a koala wearing suction cups on its claws. Really superb-looking stout.
Nose is dark and quite rich, with some bitter cocoa notes, slight hints of fresh vanilla and some toasted oats and other grainy characters. Smells a little sweet and I would like it to lean a little more heavily on the roasty side but still, a mild, pleasant stout smell.
Tasty. Tasty beer. Dark throughout with nice toasty flavours, slight espresso notes with some unsweetened dark chocolate and toasted wheat and barley. A sweetness comes through on the mid-palate, slightly milky and a further touch of chocolate with a hint of vanilla. Regains its bitterness for the finish with a bit of woodiness and some fresh espresso grounds, but nothing too ashy. Mouthfeel is a little watery in the mouth and a slight harshness as it goes down, but that's the only rough edge to this beer, it's otherwise a perfectly fine texture.
This is an astoundingly good session stout. Fantastically balanced, tempered and drinkable drop. Once again these naked islanders are hammering into me how well they brew.
39 / 100
Tried recently on tap at the brewhouse.
A deep coppery colour, very clear, with a ring of film. Lacing OK, looks a bit thin for a stout, and nowhere near as dark.
Some smokiness on the nose, quite dark with a bit of sweetness and a slight meatiness. Not bad overall, and stylistically true if weak.
Taste is very thin. Dark roasted notes and a slight acidity, but the feel is appalling, especially for a brew with oats. It means the taste disappears quickly and it really suffers as a result.
Not bad, overall, really, but its stylistically poor and it has only minimal character. Drinkable enough, but far from a great stout.
49 / 100
Another big shout-out to Charlie from Vermont for sharing this one (I'd put his BA username but he doesn't have one).
Pours a dark cocoa colour, cola held up to the light, red-wine colour at the base. Head is beige, fizzes a bit then sinks to a ring around the top. Lacing is gorgeously sticky. Nice lace but could be darker and use more retention.
Nose is very malty, a lot of dark grain but not a lot of roasty characters. A nutty character dominates with pecan and chestnut on there, a hint of coconut and a lot of wood, like fresh pine bark but also like a chestnut shell. Some distinct oats as well and maybe some chocolate if I'm being generous. More like a carob character though.
Taste is more of the same, a lot of wood - oak and pine with a hint of brandy on the front. Mid-palate has lots of darker malt with some mild roastiness on the back, slightly sour. Not a lot to the palate and a bit disappointing for an oatmeal stout. Not a lot of chocolate character, lacking in potency, a bit of a cardboard note, yeah just needs more.
Mouthfeel is quite syrupy but goes down slick. Decent but not great.
A bit underwhelming, particularly given the style, but certainly drinkable.
60 / 100
Pours a very dark brown colour with nice ochre head, made up of visisble bubbles and retaining well. Leaves some pleasant beige lace behind. Pretty nice.
Nose is very chocolatey, with a good belt of espresso as well. Quite sweet though, with none of the bitter burnt character I've experienced with other oatmeal (or any) stouts. Not much else to it, really, just toasty notes and a lot of chocolate. Maybe a hint of hazelnut on there.
Tastes very stouty. Quite roasted on the front, with hints of cocoa and some dark fruits, plum and berry flavours. Mid is a bit bitter, and finishes quite roasted with hints of that burnt coffee character. There is a weird tang to the back almost akin to lemonade, just a kind of light citric sourness. Not bad, but a very standard stout flavour. Lacks nuance on the palate.
Mouthfeel nicely full and very well textured. Not thick but a great presence on the tongue. Thank you oats, you've smoothed this up to the max.
The bitterness at the back is a slight turnoff, but apart from that it's a well done stout.
On tap at the Mountain View location.
Easily looks the best of the sampler platter I had. A deep opaque black-brown, with flashed of red-brown at the edges. Head is a thick and consistent creamy mocha colour, aided by the nitro pour. Good retention, and it leaves some pretty good lacing. Looks pretty good.
Roasted malts on the nose, quite deep and toasty. It's not particularly strong, but the characters are right, at least. Not verging on smoky, it rather stays quite bittersweet, a hint of brown sugar or burnt toffee. Not bad.
Taste is also good without being great. Tasty enough, starting with a good roasted character, some charred balt on the back which lends a pleasant bitterness. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth from the nitrogen. Again, it's not stellar but it's pretty good.
It's a tasty little stout, pretty drinkable with a decent amount of character. Not the best stout I've had by a long shot, but it's not bad, and easily the best of the Tied House brews I sampled.
73 / 100
Pours a deliciously empty black void, with a good creamy thick head of cream-coloured brown. Lacing is sublime, and it looks very pleasantly and densely opaque. A truly excellent looking beer.
Lots of lovely roasted notes on the nose. Hints of oak, milk chocolate, coconut, raisins and toffee. Very full and sweet, with just a lingering crisp burnt note which crackles around the edges of the aroma. It doesn't sock me in the nose with its strength, but it is undeniably very good.
Smooth entry, punctuated be a wry, wholesome burnt bitterness that tapers off to a silky finish of vanilla paste. Texture is lovely in the mouth, quite full and chewy, but not too heavy or thick. Again, it has a subtlety to it - it doesn't pound the senses into submission, rather it just opens its doors slowly and gently, giving you a light but pleasant melange of dark roasted characters.
Not a huge beer, and certainly not a huge stout, but it has much to enjoy, and its subtlety comes with the benefit of increasing its drinkability. Very smooth, creamily dark and good for a couple.
A nice dark one with thick espresso head, sinking unevenly and has left a pleasant ring of beige lace around the glass, all quite uneven, which is nice. Slight tinge of brownish-red up to the light, nothing else that I can really make out.
Nose is incredibly sweet, with a thick chocolatey aroma, but also a sour edge, with a big smokey and meaty hit, a large bacon aroma with tart hints of fig, chlorine (?) and tomato around it as well. Ultimately, very chocolatey, and slightly disconcerting from that meatiness, but an interesting and very pleasant nose.
Taste is ultimately dark, with a great burnt, ashy bitterness underlying it. Overlain on the top are, even more prominent than on the nose, some meaty, smokey flavours, a lot of pork, dark wood, even an oniony kind of spice, I have to tell you it's decidedly odd. Front though is sweet, with that cocoa flavour, but it doesn't last long. Slight hint of alcohol on the back, while mouthfeel is not very full and leaves with a distinct, arid dryness. None of which is particularly bad.
Not bad at all, but the particular flavours are a bit off-putting because of their strength. I couldn't and wouldn't drink this all the time.
Very dark black-brown, with hints of ruby blood-red when held to the light. Thickish head of surprisingly light white foam. Some lacing. Pancake bubbles across the surface. Nice.
Dry chocolate notes on the nose, with a light vinous character, a little vinegary even. Some grassy, green lucerne and grain characters, not terribly dark, a small amount of sugar syrup. Can't say I'm a huge fan to be honest. Pretty weak.
Taste is a little better, a little syrupy sugar, but a dark malt character at the back to cleanse with a little bitterness. Mouthfeel quite thin, and there is that lingering sour character that's just out of place. The slight sugar syrup character lingers a little too much on the back too. Again. it's got some nice characters, but I'm not a big fan.
No, it doesn't do it for me overall. It's just too light and a little to sickly. It needs some depth and body behind it. There are some decent characters, but there are also some odd notes that put me off.
Pours a dark burgundy colour, quite dark but a lot of colour in it, especially when held up to the light. The head is thin, very thin actually, beige colour. Leaves some deliciously sticky cascades of lacing around the edge. Pretty good indeed.
Nose is sweet and sticky, slightly roasty with a light cocoa character, hints of brown sugar, maybe some spice as well, nutmeg I think. A light citrus character at the back, orange and maybe lemon as well. A lot of nuance, but a bit subdued with nothing explosively aromatic.
Roasted character throughout the palate, slightly bitter without overdoing it into ashy territory. Hints of cocoa and a fair amount of cereal grain. Has a port character towards the back with a good sweetness that again doesn't overdo it by venturing into sickly-town or syrup-ville. Feel is smooth and velvety. Reasonably full but gliding, like indigestion cream.
This is extremely drinkable stuff, with smooth pleasant flavours. It does venture into sweet territory at the back, but it's balanced enough for the most part to make it quaffable.
74 / 100
Cheers to my girlfriend for lugging this bomber back from the States for me.
Pours an extremely dark, opaque brown-black, with a sheen to the body. Head is also very dark, a rick milk-chocolate colour. Its crown is big, but rocky, composed of a lot of air, and not much creaminess. Carbonation abounds, in tiny thin streams of bubbles around the edge of the goblet. Excellent sticky lacing. This is a really nice looking stout.
Rich dark toasted notes on the nose, coffee, roasted malt, a little smokiness and a bittersweet hint of burnt sugar. There's even, hiding away at the back, the insinuation of oak. It's not a huge nose, but it's certainly got fine characteristics to it. Very pleasant.
Taste is initially quite smoky, with a brash wood-fire character on the front palate. This lingers around, mingling with flavours of charred meat, caraway and anise seed. The roasted characters are the ones surviving to the end though, with a long, dark back palate of roasty bitter ash. It's not a drying character, though - it stays smooth on the palate throughout.
Slippery, dark, dangerous. This is a well-made stout. It's not huge, by any account, everything is in moderation and everything is balanced. I had a great time chewing my way through it.