March 18, 2013

Wakey Wakey Coffee Oatmeal Stout Tasting

This oatmeal stout was formulated deep into a hike in the Colorado Rockies. It was my first attempt to play with coffee and I thought I had done enough research to ensure a fresh and flavorful coffee addition to support the oatmeal stout. I got two out of three. The coffee is way, way, way overwhelming. So much so it could easily be mistaken for carbonated coffee. I used 0.30 ounces of coffee beans per gallon, which was consistent with the volumes I found in other recipes. I believe the combination of soaking the beans in vodka and then adding the beans and vodka to the beer extracted too much coffee flavor out of the beans. It's a disappointing result but since I really like coffee it's not the worst brewing error.

Appearance: Very dark beer with a tan, foamy head. Between the roasted barley and coffee the beer is almost midnight black. It's opaque as a stout should be.

Smell: The aroma is mostly coffee notes with some hints of beer. Lots of fresh coffee aroma, some chocolate, toffee, caramel, slight cinnamon and acrid, burnt smell.

Taste: The taste is straight coffee when the beer is cold. There is only hints of chocolate and some stout-like flavor in the very end of the aftertaste. As the beer warms up the beer flavor starts to become more noticeable. It has the flavor of a cold, carbonated coffee with a splash of stout added. It's the reverse of what I had expected: mostly coffee with a hint of stout instead of mostly stout with a hint of coffee.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is moderate for a stout. It's not too thick for a session-strength beer but maintains enough body that you know you are drinking a stout (well if it tasted more like beer than coffee).

Overall I think the beer underneath the coffee is a workable recipe but the coffee addition, obviously, needs some work. I like the flavor of the coffee addition but I might try cold steeping the coffee beans and adding the cold-steeped coffee at bottling to see if I prefer the flavor of that method.

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