Ten Million Horses Can’t Be Wrong!

At least that is what I thought when I bought my first Oatmeal Stout.  I thought lots of people like oats, and of course the horse thing, but there must be at least 10 people I can think of off hand that like oats…Lets see, theres Wilfred Brimley, He loves oats, there was Ulle Gibbins, Hell he ate pine cones, ok…theres…Hmmm.  OK 2, I can think of two people who love oats.  Well since oats aren’t the most popular grain served plain, perhaps they would make a good beer.

Different brewers are always throwing different things in their beer, coffee, chocolate, coriander, ginger root, hell I even saw one beer with orange peel in its list of ingredients.  Who’d of thought Oats would stick so well?  For my first foray into Oatmeal Stouts I selected an import, I figure the British have been working with oats for at least 500 more years than the Americans, so why not choose a brew from the motherland…

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout is an English brew that has 5% ABV and pours an inky black with a tan head that dissipates quickly.  This beer was originally brewed for lactating mothers and sold as a health drink.  I guess the oats help in milk production!  Question is do they make a good beer?  I say yes, they make a good beer, unfortunately Sam Smith doesn’t make a great oatmeal stout.  It is serviceable, and for the $10 price for an 18 oz bottle, I expect more than serviceable.

The nose, smelled the part with oats and chocolate, perhaps a little alcohol smell towards the back end.  The mouth feel on this is a little runny, not the thick creamy structure I was hoping for.  The flavor was good.  It had the dark flavor of a stout with coffee and chocolate tones, but lacked a lot of complexity, like I said it was a serviceable oatmeal stout.  It had a picture of a barrel on the label but it did not say barrel aged, or that a portion  of it had been barrel aged, and I could find no reference to this in my research.  I would think that had all or a part of it been barrel aged it would have said so like on their Yorkshire Stingo.  Too bad, some time in a barrel would help to solidify the structure of the brew and give it that rich and complex flavor that we are all looking for in a beer that drinks like a meal!

If I was rating this I would probably give it a 3 out of 5, but when it comes to value for your buck, I think there are others that would do better.  For the time I will leave the oats to the horses, but I will keep looking for that dark, rich, and substantial oatmeal brew!


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9 Comments on “Ten Million Horses Can’t Be Wrong!”

  1. December 15, 2009 at 2:47 am #

    Interesting review Don. I actually have this brew in my fridge and have been waiting for some time to try it. Most other reviews I’ve read on this beer are glowing in comparison to yours! Still, I’m looking forward to see what you have to say about the next one you try!

    • Don
      December 15, 2009 at 3:23 am #

      I know that. Usually I look at other blogs before I write a review, sometimes before I drink the beer to kind of know what to expect and to look for in the flavor. All I have to say is that if Sam Smith is the gold standard for Oatmeal Stouts, maybe I just don’t like them that much. Also it was a friends bottle that we drank, and not having paid the $12 for the bottle I didn’t have an emotional investment in liking it. Not saying that others think it is good because they paid a good amount money for it, but there are expectations that come with cost. Like I said I didn’t think it was bad, but I wouldn’t run right out to get more. A friend of mine ( and the one I shared this bottle with) says that his favorite is Alaskan Brewing Co’s Oatmeal Stout, so I am now on a hunt for that.

      • Jim
        December 16, 2009 at 3:00 am #

        Perhaps Don has found his pumpkin ale?

        • Don
          December 16, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

          Don’t think I didn’t think about that as I was writing this! I have an Anderson Valley Oatmeal Stout at home I have yet to try, and it was rated as #1 for 2009 in some oatmeal stout brew festival. They ranked Sam Smiths at # 6 and the one my buddy likes the Alaskan Stout at 10. I’ll see if I agree with the ratings as we go.

  2. December 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    I still think it’s the best oatmeal stout out there. Of course, I’ve not tried them all. I won’t expatiate here, but this is what I think of it. http://thankheavenforbeer.com/2009/11/27/samuel-smiths-oatmeal-stout/

    • Don
      December 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

      Wow, Mike you really like Sam Smiths Oatmeal Stout! Like I told Scott, if this is the gold standard, perhaps I just don’t appreciate the style. The other thought that crossed my mind while I read your review, is maybe my bottle was somehow slightly compromised. I suppose it wouldn’t take much to change the flavor to something less than stellar.

  3. Jim
    December 16, 2009 at 2:59 am #

    Founder Breakfast Oatmeal Stout all the way, I say! I think Sam Smith is a classic, but I agree it’s kind of forgettable. Of course it’s an excellent starting off point for exploring oatmeal stouts. A basecamp.

    I have an oaty Souther Tier sitting in the fridge calling my name now. Thanks, Don!

    • Don
      December 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

      Ha! someone agrees with me! It was forgettable! I agree it is a decent base from which to compare, but when it comes to value for the price it is not only forgettable, it is regrettable?


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    […] waaayyy back in the early days of the blog I said I wanted to find the worlds best oatmeal stout.  Said that here.  All the way back in December of 2009.  Well my search is over.  I’ve had some awesome […]

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