Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Crabtree Oatmeal Stout review

Crabtree Oatmeal StoutWinning a medal at the Great American Beer Festival takes hard work and even a bit of luck. Crabtree Brewing Company has only been open for 5 years and it took them a while before they even entered their beers in the GABF competition. This year, they won for the first time and they even took home two medals. This review is about their 2011 Silver Medal winning Crabtree Oatmeal Stout.

While I was at Crabtree Brewing for a homebrew club meeting, I brought along my growler and got a fill up of their award winning stout fresh off the tap. I've had this beer a couple of times before at the brewery, but had failed until now to give it a formal review. With the weather constantly below freezing the last several days, this felt like the perfect time to warm up with a dark cold one.

Crabtree Oatmeal Stout weighed in around 7.5% ABV and was rated at 29.1 IBUs. You can find this in four-packs around Colorado and a couple of neighboring states. It was brewed with a generous amount of flaked oats in an effort to give it a smoother feel. Dark beers are a staple here at the Fermentedly Challenged household this time of year and I wanted to pour one while it was brewery fresh.

Appearance: Crabtree's Oatmeal Stout poured extremely dark, nearly black, with some lighter brown edges. Since this brew had been poured out of a growler, I didn't expect quite as much carbonation, yet it still gave a slight hiss when I initially opened up the 64oz container. There was a decent 1 to 2 finger light brown head that stuck around long enough to take a quick photo of. There was little lacing on this brew when swirled and what was there slid off the side of the glass rather quickly.

Crabtree Oatmeal Stout labelAroma: With stouts, I expect some roast, perhaps some coffee or toffee, or perhaps a bit of chocolate. With this Oatmeal Stout, I got a big nose of chocolate and a bit of dark roast. There was a hint of sweet malt in the air as well. It was a very inviting brew with no hint of any off aromas. The hop nose was definitely toned down as it should be.

Taste: This brew had plenty of sweet dark malts, some taste of chocolate, caramel and had a smooth finish without being too bitter. The sweet malts definitely dominated the taste here, yet I still got enough bitterness to round it out. This stout didn't stick to my tongue as some stouts can, meaning, it didn't coat it or leave a chalky after taste. It was full bodied and smooth. This brew drank like a meal. Filling yet satisfying.

Overall: This brew has definitely improved over the last couple of years. Earlier versions of this brew were a bit too sweet, but now Crabtree seems to have figured the style out much better. They must have since they won a medal for it this year. At 7.5% ABV, the alcohol content has more than enough to sneak up on you. Don't let the dark sweetness fool you.

Crabtree Oatmeal Stout tasted good both cold and as it warmed. It's the kind of stout I could savor from start to finish. After drinking this I'm wishing that they would make an imperial version of this beer as I think it would be awesome. Perhaps even barrel aged would be great too.

I've had several other oatmeal stouts in the last few years and I believe this year's version definitely beats the other locals I've had. While Crabtree's brews may not be widely distributed yet, I feel this one could be one that will take them far. Crabtree plans to can this beer in 16oz cans sometime early on in 2012. Now I can see why this one was targeted next.

My hats off to Crabtree Brewing for getting it right. This small operation is starting to put out some outstanding beers. It's nice to have an award winning brewery just across town from me. I can't wait to see what they come up with next (Hint - the next one is going to be like an oatmeal raisin cookie).

Video showing the pour of :

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Related articles:
- Crabtree Serenity Amber Ale review.
- Crabtree Berliner Weisse Ale review.
- Crabtree Syzygy Barrel-aged Black IPA review.

This article came from - a Colorado beer blog.
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