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Hidden Gems: Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout

May 21, 2010

I’m a big fan of oatmeal stouts in general, but still one of the best that I’ve tried is Samuel Smith’s based out of Yorkshire, England, which single-handedly revived the style back in the 1980’s. Oatmeal stouts are great because they are a throwback to the days when beer was considered a food group, and they are made by adding a proportion of oats (such as barley and oatmeal) during the brewing process.

Brewers in medieval Europe began adding oats to their beer as a way of bumping up the nutrition factor (these were the glory days when beer was a staple part of many people’s diets). Though the idea of beer being nutritious has waned over the years, they were definitely onto something with the oatmeal stout. Traditionally brewed with up to a 30% proportion of oats (which often gave the beer a bitter flavor), modern oatmeal stouts like Samuel Smith’s contain around 5% oats. The result is a hearty, dark brown ale with a subtle sweetness that is nicely balanced with the almost nutty flavor of the roasted barley and oatmeal. At 5% alcohol by volume, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout is very smooth and drinkable, while at the same time remaining complex and flavorful.

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout is recommended for anyone who enjoys dark beers like stouts or nut brown ales, or anyone who is interested in getting a sense of what people were drinking back in the day. Even for those who don’t usually like dark beers, the oatmeal stout is one of those beers that is good to have in one’s reference of tastes, if only for its originality.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Andrew Mitchell permalink
    June 16, 2010 4:45 pm

    Expand that palate! This was the first ‘serious’ beer I ever tried. Never looked back.

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