Monday, March 11, 2013

Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) - Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout

Craft beer is awesome and you will never hear me say otherwise. But if there is a downside to all of the new breweries that are jumping into the market on a weekly basis, it's that some of the breweries that have been making great beer for a long time get lost in the hubbub. One of these breweries that gets overlooked a lot is Samuel Smith.

Samuel Smith is a brewery that was opened in Tadcaster, England (about 200 miles north of London) in 1758. They are as old school as breweries get and still use the traditional brewing methods that have been used for centuries at the brewery, including the use of "stone Yorkshire squares," giant stone fermentation vessels that look more than a little crazy. You can check out pictures on the website here. Samuel Smith has been making good beer for a long, long time. One of their flagship beers is their Oatmeal Stout, which is currently sitting at #172 on the Top 250 list.

Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout pours a deep brown color with a fluffy light brown head that recedes down to a light film over the beer. The smell was pretty impressive, with big notes of molasses and dark chocolate pouring out of the glass. I also picked up a strong dark fruit aroma, with notes of fig and raisin. Still deeper were notes of cola, wet earth, chocolate covered banana and rich, dark bread. What a smell!

The taste brings a rich, roasted bread and grain flavor throughout. There's also some faint roasted malt, along with notes of cola, chocolate malt, some molasses and just a hint of dark fruit. For 5%, this beer feels beefy as hell. The oats really bring the mouthfeel up and give the beer a velvety texture. I've never had a beer this low in alcohol that tasted this rich. It's a fantastic oatmeal stout and a real lesson in old school brewing. This stuff is pretty much everywhere, so there's no excuse not to try it. If you're a fan of stouts, this is a must have.

Final Grade: A

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 114

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