Well, the new year is here, and it’s time to drink some beer! I had a fun, but relatively unfortunate New Year’s Eve, where I drank Miller Lite (OMG, I seriously can’t drink this crap anymore), mostly in big gulps for the playing of Flip Cup and Beirut (like Beer Pong, only you throw the ball instead of using a paddle). All in all, I found out I excel at both sports, and the one good thing about that yellow crap is that it IS light and it is low in alcohol, so drinking a ton of it like I did is easy. Unfortunately, it tears my stomach up like you wouldn’t believe. Now that that’s behind me, let’s look at some better beer to start 2010!

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know I can’t do a write up of a stout without mentioning Goose Island’s incredible Bourbon County Stout. It is one of my all-time favorite beers. I’m sure I’ve had their regular Oatmeal Stout, but never in the context of a review, so here’s a revisit of this beer to see how it stands up.

Oatmeal stouts are stouts that have oatmeal in the grain bill. The addition of oatmeal is mainly to give the beer a “slick” (some say slimy) texture/mouthfeel. Some people can taste the oats, but I have yet to find a “calibration beer” to help me recognize what oats in beer taste like, so for me, it’s a texture, not a taste thing.

Goose Island’s Oatmeal Stout pours black, almost opaque, except it has some dark ruby highlights if you hold the glass up to light. The head is a fluffy tan color.

You know my nose doesn’t work so great, but I am definitely picking up on SOMETHING on the aroma… I can’t quite place it… something in the burnt sugar/toffee/caramel neighborhood… maybe a little raisin-y, too? I just can’t quite place the aroma, but it’s nice and “warm.”

The beer has a surprising amount of carbonation, almost coming off a little prickly to me. Nice roasted malt flavor on the front end that carries into the aftertaste. The finish is really dry on this, almost a little chalky or ashy. The beer may be a little cold, although Goose Island recommends it be drunk at 40°F. I tend to like my stouts at almost room temperature, which for me is upper 50’s-low 60’s.

With larger gulps of the beer I get a pretty good amount of bitterness, too. It’s tough for me to tell whether that bitterness is from the roasted grains or hops, but I think it might be a little of both. The mouthfeel is nothing special, and the dry finish borders on being astringent, almost.

This is not a bad stout, by any stretch, but as stouts are one of my favorite styles, I have gone out of my way to drink a lot of them, and I have some really good ones in the fridge right now, so this is a solid stout, but nothing that is terribly special. It’s a good beer and I would like to pair it up with some food at some point, but otherwise, there are better oatmeal stouts to be had out there with a lot more character.

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