Saturday, October 18, 2008

Revisiting Samuel Smith's - Part 2

Last night I savored a Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout; tonight I'm having another stout from Smith's: the Oatmeal Stout. This stout looks just as good if not more appealing then the Imperial. This very dark brown stout poured with a bit of a rocky head that rose up out of the glass and slowly settled to a persistent quarter-inch of khaki foam. Some ruby highlights come through towards the bottom of the glass; it's quite the pretty pint.

The first whiff of this beer is laced with a very enticing smell of cocoa. The smooth sip that follows echoes the cocoa in the nose with some plum fruitiness then a vanilla-coffee flavor that fades to quickly to a dry chocolate finish. However, more than anything, this beer tastes cold. The beer geek in me reaches for the digital thermometer I use for brewing. The beer is barely 51 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn't really that cold. Perhaps a touch too cold for a stout, but I like my stouts closer 60 degrees than 50. I think I'm going to let this warm up a bit.

Okay, I've waited about 10 minutes and the beer has warmed up to 55-56 degrees. That's the recommended serving temperature of this beer according to the importer of this ale, Merchant Du Vin. First of all, I feel I should note that a quarter-inch of khaki foam is still sitting there on top of beer. Impressive. I'm even more impressed that the drop of just a few degrees of temperature has taken the cold "sting" out of this beer and its flavors are more easily perceived. The drinkablility is enhanced, too. At 60 degrees, this beer is getting much sweeter than when I first poured it at close to 50. This is something I've noticed in some other dark beers, especially bocks and double bocks. It's bordering on too sweet for me; I think the brewer has struck a delicate between the malt and hops with this one.

Overall, Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout is an enjoyable and sessionable stout that could be considered a bit sweet for some stout drinkers. Furthermore, it mustn't be served too cold to fully appreciate it's flavor.

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