Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Oatmeal Stout

Samuel Smith
United Kingdom

Style: Sweet Stout

Jug’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (World class.)

Oatmeal stouts were originally billed as a nutritional beer for lactating mothers. They were a popular style of beer in the 1800s but officially died out in the early 1900s. That is, of course, only until Samuel Smith reinvented the style in 1980.

This effectively makes Samuel Smith the parent of all oatmeal stouts, and it has a pedigree to prove it. Their Oatmeal Stout is brewed in Tadcaster, England in a brewery that dates back to 1758. Their house yeast is a strain that dates back to the early 18th century. The well that Samuel Smith draws their water from was dug over 200 years ago. Even the busy label on the “Victorian Pint” bomber wields a bit of turn-of-the-century nostalgia.

The beer pours with an opaque darkness, topped with a big, thick frothy head that lingers. The nose of the beer is a delicate malt sweetness, and you can almost sense the high carbonate water the beer is brewed from. No hop bouquet at all.

The first taste is sweet malt. This isn’t a big overwhelming sweetness you’ll often get with other oatmeal stouts. It’s one of the most distinctive flavors I’ve ever found in a beer. It starts with a hint of molasses, but evolves into something more as the velvety smoothness begins to take over. The finish is dry with a slight malt bitterness and just a hint of earthy English hops.

The success here is the perfect balance of it all. Each sip takes your taste buds on a journey that leaves you refreshed and ready to go again. It’s difficult to sum up the intangibles that make this a world class beer—it’s really something you have to experience.

Reviewed by Jug Dunningan on February 5, 2009.
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