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Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout

July 9, 2009

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Better In A Pint Glass Than A Breakfast Bowl

Anthony Says:


IMG_0849Made famous by Michael Jackson- the beer critic, not the deceased entertainer, may he rest in peace- oatmeal stout is quite possibly one of the most underrated and underloved styles of beer. Indeed, malty, rich and full of body, it is perhaps the consummate autumn brew in my opinion. While I have various theories (mostly conspiratorial) as to why oatmeal stout doesn’t have a greater presence in the beer market, I’ve come to the conclusion that it comes down to its relatively spotty availability. Thus, with perhaps only ten brands readily accessible- and even less in Canada- I jumped at the opportunity to try this offering by Denver based Breckenridge Brewery.


Aesthetically speaking, oatmeal stouts are one of the most visually pleasing beers; pouring an impenetrable oil black with a billowing cream-colored head, Breckenridge’s offering is no exception. Nose is a little more understated than I initially expected, but all the aromas one would expect from this style of beer are present: molasses, toffee and coffee nicely underscore the heavy scent of toasted malts. Taking into consideration the rather sweetish nose, I was surprised by the initial bitterness of this beer. Strong caramel malt flavors are slightly offfset by an almost pecan like nuttiness, and then quickly pass into bitter roast coffee or perhaps burnt oatmeal. However, finishing in a lingering sweet toffee and crème brulee, the aftertaste really validates the impression initially imparted by the malty nose.


While I didn’t mind the interlude of bitterness between malty caramel sweetness, the centrality of roast coffee as a bittering agent really belies its light nose presence. I suppose this alone could raise some eyebrows in the wrong way, but the thing that throws me off most about this beer is its weak mouthfeel. Thin and watery is just not what one would expect from a rich, dark oatmeal stout. To be sure, I’d imagine that this flaw would be corrected if served on nitro, but it detracts enough from the bottled version to make it a good but not quite great beer.

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Gatlin Says:


IMG_0854Stout, especially in the cooler months, is one of my favorite styles of beer. I particularly enjoy oatmeal stouts and dry stouts for their superb mouthfeel. Unfortunately, mouthfeel seems to be the one key feature this oatmeal stout is missing.


Technical Rundown:

  • Container: 341 mL brown glass bottle
  • Alcohol:4.95% by volume, 3.96% by weigh
  • Colour: NA (black)
  • Bitterness: 33


Off the pour a small, foamy, tan head emerges. Retention is pretty good, as is the lacing which creates soapy rings after each sip. The body is black with bark brown visible around the edges. Fairly high carbonation for the style is also visible.


The smell is classic stout: chocolate and coffee, roasted maltiness and even a slightly bitter smell. The nose is quite strong for this style; I often find oatmeal and dry stouts to be very subtle in smell compared to their bigger stout brothers.


The taste is equally classic stout. A bitter coffee taste hits your tongue right off the bat- sweeter chocolate and roasted malts follow. The finish has a very slight hoppiness, which makes for a pleasant cleanser. The mouthfeel is quite watery for the style. The carbonation also seems a bit high, making this beer feel somewhat thin. I dare say this beer may be great on nitro-tap.
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Some Final Thoughts


Anthony Thinks:

Pros
  • Great appearance and aromas
  • Relatively easy drinking for a stout
  • Nice array of malt flavors

Cons

  • Slightly more bitter than malty nose would suggest
  • Watery mouthfeel leaves much to be desired
  • Not available in Canada!

f

3½ stars. Recommended for stout and porter lovers, but I would refrain from introducing it to less seasoned beer drinkers as it lacks the distinctive mouthfeel one would expect from a good stout. Nevertheless, this is a nice beer that I’d definitely consider purchasing again were it available in Toronto


Gatlin Thinks:

Pros:

  • Great representative of oatmeal stout aromas and flavors
  • Quite refreshing for such a flavorful, malty beer
  • Quality craftsmanship

Cons:

  • Lacks the creamy, thick mouthfeel I look for in a stout
  • There are better options available in this style, which are both cheaper and more accessible

f

This is a 3½ star oatmeal stout. I would possibly buy a case of this beer for a cold weather session (example: ice fishing). I would not recommend this stout to those who enjoy the typical British style stout


So, What’s On Your Mind?

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