Monday, January 9, 2012

Crabtree Stephanie's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie review

Crabtree Brewing Stephanie's Oatmeal Raisin CookieAge has a way of bringing out the best in many an oak aged beer. In the case of Crabtree Brewing's Stephanie's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. This beer was classified as a more powerful version of their award winning Oatmeal Stout and aged in oak barrels. I'd like to call this beer an Imperial Stout, but somehow I don't think that classification is quite correct. Some call it an American Strong Ale, to others it's an aged Oatmeal Stout. Whatever you may call it, this is a beer to be considered seriously as it might just take you by surprise. It did me.

Stephanie's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie was a powerful brew that weighed in at 10% ABV, an SRM (color) of 56.0, and a decent 34.9 IBU. This brew only came in one size, a 750ml corked and caged bottle. It was aged for an entire year in Stranahan Whiskey barrels with lots of caramelized raisins and released on December 22nd, 2011. This is a very limited edition. Crabtree had a couple of kegs of this on tap originally at the brewery, but that didn't last long as it was a popular brew.

The label bares the image of Stephanie Crabtree, the brewer's wife and co-owner, busy making cookies in her oven. The name gave me the thought that this was going to be a sweet treat and I was looking forward to this.

I went to inquire about this brew just after the winter holidays and they had none on tap, but they had several in bottles. The bottle I reviewed was given to me by Crabtree Brewing at no cost. I was not paid to endorse this product, rather I tried to review it with an open mind to give them some feedback on their beer.

Appearance: Stephanie's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie (O.R.C.) poured a dark, dark brown color with mahogany edges. A modest pour yielded a very bubbly brown head 2-3 fingers tall (see the video below). Swirling the pint glass left a nice lacing around the edges. This brew was well carbonated as it was bottle conditioned and had lots of foamy bubbles.

Aroma: This brew had a lot to it's aroma. There was plenty of hints of whiskey, vanilla, oak, raisins, and chocolate roasted malt. The bourbon aroma was definitely present and I could tell that this had been aged in wood.

Taste: Stephanie's O.R.C. tasted like a sweet stout laced with bourbon. It tasted nearly the same as it smelled. I could pick up every bit of flavor that the aroma imparted. This brew was extremely smooth and creamy, thanks in part to the oatmeal. There was also a slight bit of tartness to this brew, probably from the effects of the wood and the bourbon. It drank smooth, yet it never let me forget that it had a good amount of alcohol in it.

I had let this brew warm up for 20 minutes after opening as I wanted to bring out the complete experience right away without hiding it with too much cold. That seemed to be just the right timing and temperature for this brew.

Overall: It didn't take me long to enjoy this beer. Yes, it was slightly sweeter and less roasty than most stouts, but I think that was the brewer's intent to give the drinker a sweet treat with a bit of a kick to it. It had a medium body with a creamy feel and a decent balance between the dark malts, raisins, whiskey and hops. This is a beer I'd definitely get more of.

I'm not sure how this beer would age. I think if the hops were beefed up a bit it would do quite well over a year or so. If I were to brew this beer, I'd add a bit more roast, not much and a few more hops. Still, this is a beer I felt compelled to finish. Glad I could pour more than one glass of this. It definitely warmed my soul even on a modestly cool winter night. Nice work Jeff and Stephanie - this was one of your best barrel-aged brews to date.

Video showing the pour of :

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Related articles:
- Crabtree Eclipse Black IPA review.
- Crabtree Oatmeal Stout review.
- Crabtree Berliner Weisse review.
- Crabtree Syzygy Barrel-Aged Black IPA review.

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