23 July 2009

Had your oats?

Finally, the refugees from my over-heated attic have all been liberated, with Broughton Scottish Oatmeal Stout the last under the wire. I have it in my head that I don't generally like oatmeal stouts, finding them a bit heavy and phenolic. This one's just 4.2% ABV -- how heavy could that be? Not very is the answer, but that's not a good thing here. Not much of a nose and very little on the palate either, other than some mild, dry roastiness and bags of watery fizz. As it warmed I got a little bit of a sweet phenolic vibe, but it could well have been my imagination. Mrs Beer Nut claims there's more going on, but still hasn't a good word to say: "like something you eat for breakfast because it's good for you". Ouch! Stern and beardie Mr Broughton won't be welcome back in my gaff, by the looks of things.

So, while I was being a glutton for punishment, I figured I may as well get rid of the other one of the genre knocking about the house: Goose Island Oatmeal Stout. The Chicago team insist on it being served in a "balloon goblet" -- a Duvel glass will have to do. Even though it's only slightly stronger at 5.1 ABV, it really delivers on texture with a big, chewy body. The nose is a bit sickly with the promise of sticky treacle, yet the flavour is dry and very slightly spicy with a lasting toasty aftertaste. I think this may be the first oatmeal stout I've had which actually tastes oaty and I reckon I'd have it again.

So, it turns out that oatmeal stout isn't a lost cause after all. Duly noted.

14 comments:

  1. I though Broughton was a little light and the Goose Island I liked

    Ron has an interesting post on oatmeal stout, apparently the original did not have more than 3% oatmeal. I know a lot of the home brewed one are generally 10% i wound what the percentage is the modern equivalents

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  2. Al the Broughton beers I have tried have been watery and a bit fizzy. Are there any great ones I am missing out on?

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  3. I thought the Old Jock was OK but not terribly exciting.

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  4. Laurent Mousson10:47 a.m.

    If you ever manage to get your hands on St Ambroise Oatmeal Stout from Montreal brewers MacAuslan, don no look the other way, as it's another proof that oatmeal stout can work well...

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  5. Laurent Mousson10:54 a.m.

    @ Oblivious: 10% oatmeal in the grist is, AFAIK pretty much where drawing off the wort become difficult, as oats tend to gelatinise in the mash tun the way porridge does... oats proportions over 10% are IMHO pretty much a liability.

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  6. Laurent,it can be a little doggy but it works for me and you can use oat husks for a bit of insurance

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  7. 3% oatmeal? It was usually even less than that. It was all a bit of a con, really. Barclay Perkins had a London Stout and an Oatmeal Stout that were 100% identical. I doubt very much that the oats were discernible at all.

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  8. If I had of had time in Chicago (read, if I had of found that damned Goose Island Bar earlier) I would have gladly tried their oatmeal stout.

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  9. I didn't think much of the Broughton ales I tried. The stout was thin and gassy. Haven't tried the Goose Island. Where did you find it?

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  10. It came from DrinkStore.

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  11. Hi Ron

    I just suggest the 3% was the upper amount, like you said many brewer had 0.6% oats in may of the porters and stouts

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  12. I'm with you on this one - despite being included in all sorts of beer guides, I've yet to find a Broughton Beer that has offered anything special, to be honest. Smith's Oatmeal Stout is worth a try if you can get it.

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  13. I have never had an oatmeal stout myself but on the Broughton, I know I have had border Gold which was ok, nice enough but nothing special. I am sure I have others but I must not have bothered blogging about them.

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