Nimbus Oatmeal Stout
This was by far the darkest beer I have ever tried, not to mention the first stout I’ve ever tried (that I can remember…). I was really excited to try a beer called oatmeal because I love oatmeal for breakfast. Yes, this is naivety at it’s most innocent and very best, but it was something I had to endure to learn a valid life lesson as well as add to my repertoire of things I can say I’ve done.
Seriously though, this brew was pitch black. While I was pouring it, I was slightly intimidated by the initial chocolatey brown color, but soon fell into a quiet fear as it ebbed black with the last drop. I couldn’t see into the liquid like I could all of my other beers; when I looked into the glass, all I could see was my shocked reflection staring starkly back at me. It was that black. My frightening first impression was quickly comforted by the sandy head of foam that grew to just over a finger thick. I suppose I didn’t really expect a snow white head, but the light brown bubbles made me feel safer about my decision to delve into the world of stouts despite my painful lack of information. Also, for anyone who cares, the lacing was spotty and minimal.
I have to say, it took me getting through both bottles before I could admit that it was something I could get used to, but smelling it will forever remain my least favorite part about the Nimbus Oatmeal Stout. Before I did any amount of research on stouts or this particular brew, I sniffed and came away repulsed. My first thought, I kid you not, was “soy sauce?!”. Even now, as I sit with my nose in the bottle trying to get around the sour, salty-sweetness of Chinese condiments, I cannot seem to break away from my inaugural impression. So, I smell soy sauce. Other than that, and by combining all of the other robust fragrances which I’m sure are probably creating the illusion of soy sauce, it still wasn’t my cup of tea. Or glass of beer, as the case may be.
Among the myriad of scents I pulled from the beer I was rapidly beginning to wish I didn’t have to drink: smoky oats and malt, baker’s dark chocolate, lots of roasted coffee grounds, hint of vanilla, a little bit of burnt molasses and maybe some bitter cocoa powder. It was like a baking experiment gone awfully, horribly awry.
Wanting to dump it down the sink at this point, I tossed it into my mouth before I could convince myself to pretend it never happened. Let me just say with complete honesty here, that despite my following complaints, the first few sips were super bitter, but once I got over the roast coffee and burnt molasses, I was able to appreciate the texture more which made it much more enjoyable. Like I mentioned, the beginning of each sip was pretty bitter, followed by a rich wave of coffee grounds, burnt oats, thick malts, and spicy hops (Kent Golding again, which I was really excited about recognizing).
The mouthfeel was a medium-light with soft carbonation, creating a smooth body that was both dry and creamy on my tongue. It did peak on sour right after I swallowed, but everything mellowed out in the end to allow more hops to shine through.
Also, don’t judge me, but I started getting a little crazy with the photos and couldn’t decide on my favorite of the bottle shots, so there you have it.
This stout is a great example of how oatmeal stouts should be made, even according to seasoned tasters, so I’m glad I was able to learn to appreciate the type of brew with the Nimbus micro. Being that it is so aromatic and robust, it would be best paired with a hearty smoked steak and a chocolate dessert, both of which will help to bring out each of the individual flavors. In the very end, this is a beer I can most certainly appreciate, but one I most likely won’t be drinking unless I have both a nice slab of smoked rib-eye and a fudge brownie with walnuts.