a journey into the wonderful world of beer & brewing
DARK BRITISH BEER
|#||OG, P||OG, sg||FG, P||FG, sg||ABV, %||IBU||SRM|
|11.2||1.045||2.6||1.010||???||25||Dark Brown (22-30)|
|15.9||1.065||4.6||1.018||5.9||40||Black, opaque (40+)|
Overall Impression: A dark, roasty, full-bodied stout with enough sweetness to support the oat backbone. The sweetness, balance, and oatmeal impression can vary considerably.
Aroma: Mild grainy, roasty, coffee-like character with a light malty sweetness that can give a coffee-and-cream impression. Low to medium-high fruitiness. Medium-low earthy or floral hop aroma optional. A light grainy-nutty oatmeal aroma is optional. Medium-low diacetyl optional but typically absent.
Appearance: Brown to black in color. Thick, creamy, persistent tan- to brown-colored head. Clear, if not opaque.
Flavor: Similar to the aroma, with a mild roasted coffee, milk chocolate, or coffee-and-cream flavor, and low to moderately-high fruitiness. Oats can add a toasty-nutty, grainy, or earthy flavor. Medium bitterness. Medium-sweet to medium-dry finish, which affects the perception of balance. Malty, roasty, nutty aftertaste. Medium-low earthy or floral hop flavor optional. Medium-low diacetyl optional but typically absent.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body, with a smooth, silky, velvety, sometimes an almost oily slickness from the oatmeal. Creamy. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Stronger versions may be lightly warming.
Comments: American versions tend to be more hoppy, less sweet, and less fruity than English examples. Bitterness, sweetness, and oatmeal impression varies. Light use of oatmeal may give a certain silkiness of body and richness of flavor, while heavy use of oatmeal can be fairly intense in flavor with an almost oily mouthfeel and dryish finish.
History: A variant of nourishing or invalid stouts around 1900 using oatmeal in the grist, similar to but independent of the development of sweet stout using lactose. An original Scottish version used a significant amount of oat malt. Later went through a shady phase where some English brewers would throw a handful of oats into their parti-gyled stouts in order to legally produce a ‘healthy’ Oatmeal Stout for marketing purposes. Most popular in England between the World Wars, was revived in the craft beer era for export, which helped lead to its adoption as a popular modern American craft beer style that uses a noticeable (not symbolic) quantity of oats.
Style Comparison: Most are like a cross between an Irish Extra Stout and a Sweet Stout with oatmeal added. Several variations exist, with the sweeter versions more like a Sweet Stout with oatmeal instead of lactose, and the drier versions more like a more nutty, flavorful Irish Extra Stout. Both tend to emphasize the body and mouthfeel.
Commercial Examples: Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Broughton Stout Jock, St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Summit Oatmeal Stout, Young's London Stout