Thursday, 21 February 2013

St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout

Highly debated as the best oatmeal stout in Canada, the St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout (ABV 5.0%; IBU 45) from Brasserie McAuslan Brewery in Quebec is something I've had before, but have yet to review on Brewji.

The story of the first time I had this stout is part of the reason why I needed to give it another go. I was at a friend's birthday party one summer, woke up hungover after too many jello shots that were made in muffin trays (don't ask...), and my friend, being part Irish and part German, had no hangover.

He handed me a beer, told me it was "like a Guinness, but tastier and feels like breakfast". He wasn't wrong. If you are new to stouts, as I was at the time, you will realize how this trumps a Guinness any day of the week. I opened the bottle, poured myself a glass, and it tasted like a coffee-hinted stout with a feeling of "Hey, no more hangover!"

St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout by Brasserie McAuslan Brewery

Let's get to the most recent events with this brew, shall we? Seeing as I've had this before, I snapped the picture before I opened the bottle because I didn't know if I would remember to take a picture while drinking it.

I sniffed the brew and got hints of roasted cocoa malts, coffee, and even a slight hint of what I think is oatmeal...maybe it's just because the name of brew is oatmeal stout, but I swear I smell it. There's a little bit of something else too, can't quite put my finger on it though.

On first sip, I immediately could taste cocoa flavours, with roasted malts and coffee hints. It is so well crafted, it's undoubtedly the best oatmeal stout I've ever had -- and stouts are my forte.

The taste goes through stages for sure. The first taste feels like a smooth cocoa-oat taste under a solid stout top. The second taste flows into a coffee hinted flavouring, and thirdly finishes with a caramel malt-y taste. This then flows into a lingering aftertaste of malts and coffee. The taste factor alone is enough to win this beer an award!

The "mouthfeel" as beer people call it, feels like a thicker than normal beer (obviously, it's a stout), but it's creamy and smooth at the same time. It lacks a lot of carbonation that other types of beer have, but as is the case with most stouts.

Now, this may actually be a beginner (stout) brew; if you're going to get someone into stouts, let them compare this brew vs. a Guinness. Tell them that most people drink Guinness and ask them which one they think is better. Something tells me that the majority will pick this oatmeal stout.

Also something to note -- don't serve this beer at ice cold temperatures! It's best served a little warmer than normal to allow the flavours to work their way over your taste buds.

The bottom line on this brew: It's cheaper than most stouts, it tastes better than most stouts, and it comes in a 6-pack of bottles. What do you have to lose? Grab some and enjoy!

The St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout gets an exceptionally well-crafted 9.5 / 10

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