16 December 2007

Sraranc Oatmeal Stout/Scotch Ale (NY)

The last two from 12 Beers of Winter, which I'm honestly happy to be rid of.

Oatmeal Stout: My point of comparison here is Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, which for me sets the bar very high. Saranac's take looks comparably appealing, with its very dark body and tan head (although that doesn't stick around). The aroma is promising, but the body lets me down. It's too thin and (again) over-carbonated. The base flavor is roatsed malts, some coffee, and not too sweet. For me, though, it's like a few tablespoons of diet cola have been added to water it down. I don't particularly like it.

Scotch Ale: For this one, I don't have good points of comparison, only having tried a few in the style. The label calls it "a full-bodied, malty sweet ale." It isn't full-bodied; more like medium, although I think Saranac gets the carbonation right this time. Of course it's malty, with caramel sweetness, and there's secondary bitterness as well. In addition, smokiness comes through, as does some booziness (it's 6% ABV). To me, all of this hangs together fairly well until the finish, which is a bit messy. Still, I like this one. In the words of Montgomery Burns: "I know what I hate, and I don’t hate this."

Overall, I wouldn't buy this variety pack again unless it were a necessary compromise with "civilians" (i.e., macro drinkers). I'll probably want to drink the curious Chocolate Amber Lager again (I think I can get singles of that), and maybe the Scotch Ale of Winter Wassail. I could do without the other three.

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