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Beer Reviews

Oat Goop

Three Floyds Brewing Co.
Munster, IN

Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 10.4%

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

Pair With:
Yes, we’re in the last of week of International Month here at No, I didn’t fail geography in the fourth grade. Yes I am aware that Three Floyds is in Munster, Indiana, not Munster, Germany. Just keep your undies out of bunches and let me explain why I’m reviewing a Three Floyds beer smack dab in the middle of a month set aside for foreign brews.

The particular beer I will be reviewing tonight, an “oat wine” called Oat Goop, was brewed at Three Floyds in conjunction with the Mikkeller brewery in Copenhagen, Denmark. You know, the land that’s home to words like hjemmebryggere and the letter “o” with a slash through it. Then again, it’s kind of a stretch to call Mikkeller a brewery. It’s basically one dude, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (see?), who calls himself a “gypsy brewer.” He travels from brewery to brewery, contracting out space and equipment to brew his wild, funky, huge, challenging beers. Starting out a few years ago home brewing, he’s basically become an international celebrity in the brewing world for his inventive brews as much as for introducing good beer to a country that previously only knew (gulp) Carlsberg. Oat Goop is the latest in several brews he’s done with Three Floyds.

Before we get any further, let’s talk about that weird name (Oat Goop, not Borg Bjergsø). Oats aren’t that popular of a brewing grain, even though they lend some great characteristics to a beer: nuttiness in flavor, creaminess in texture, stickiness in the head. But it’s a pain in the ass to brew with, especially when it makes up more than, oh, 10 or 20 percent of the grist. When it’s wet, its oils and proteins tend to gel up into, well, goop, resulting in what’s called a “stuck” mash—the wort can’t drain properly out of the grains, and the brewers get to sit there for hours on end trying to extract the fermentables they need to brew their beer. In other words, this brew was probably a real chore to brew. But … it was worth it.

Oat Goop pours copper with a medium-sized but sticky head that leaves some mild lacing. The aroma is undertones of nutty malt and overtones of grapefruity hops. Medium-bodied, it features a strikingly sharp mouthfeel despite some subdued carbonation. Sugary, crystal malt-like sweetness leads out front, then a wall of spicy, super earthy hop flavor, as well as some massive bitterness. This interplays surprisingly well with the sweet, nutty malt, which is present in just enough quantity to keep things from getting insane with the hops. Bigger sips have definite hints of the brew’s big-ass 10.4 percent ABV.

The massive, earthy hop notes bring to mind another Three Floyds brew, Blackheart. That is a fantastic imperial IPA, and Oat Goop is almost as good. Big and challenging, it’s certainly not for everyone, and not an everyday beer—save this one for a special occasion. It’s worth a buy, although at 16 smackers (guh!) for a 22-ounce bomber, a lot of folks might disagree.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on February 23, 2009.
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