Oatmeal Stouts are dark ale brews that have made their claim somewhere in between a typical Sweet and Dry Stout and could even be called a less sweet version of an English Seasonal Stout. While there is variation in the strength of this style, traditionally ‘stout’ was a title given to the strongest porters, or ‘stoutest porters’. Since then the name has been shortened to simply ‘Stout’ and describes a dark brewed beer usually on the stronger side.
Oatmeal Stouts differ from other types of stouts due to the addition of oats during the brewing process which gives the beer richness and intensity of flavor. Although a higher percentage of added oats can result in an almost oily texture and very strong characteristics on the palate, a lower percentage of added oats can give the beer a smooth and almost glossy mouthfeel with a full, rounded body.
The Oatmeal Stout is distinctive because of the subtle sweetness brought out by the oats. While not overly sweet, this stout can have flavors of roasted grains, nuts and oatmeal with elements of coffee and chocolate coming through from the malts. Just like the aromas, the hop flavors are not strong, if present at all. Although there is little to no fruitiness to this beer, you can expect a roasted, earthy presence on the nose accompanied with aromas of sweet coffee. The appearance of this dark brew can be almost black in color and has a hefty, creamy head ranging from tan to brown.
Overall, the Oatmeal Stout is creamy, smooth and full-bodied with medium carbonation. Brewers should use between 5 - 10% with a maximum of 30% oats for optimal flavor complexity without becoming bitter. A typical ABV of this brew style is between 4.2 - 5.9% with IBU’s between 25 - 40.
Oatmeal Stouts have had their place in our Craft Beer Club’s monthly shipments, one of which comes from the award-wining Bent River Brewing Company in Illinois. The “Uncommon Stout” is their Flagship Ale boasting the Oatmeal Stout name and continues to be their top seller. Our monthly Craft Beer Club members truly enjoy this style and we will be featuring the Oatmeal Stout brew style again in our future beer club shipments.
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