Not that it takes much, but the Stout is far and away the most flavorful and impressive of all Schell beers. Looking more like a bottle of root beer that you might buy at Gander Mountain or Cabela’s than an actual bottle of the suds, it’s a bit deceiving to the eye. Good, bold choco-coffee stout flavor and heavy enough to fill the belly with warmth, I really enjoy this beer.
No question, I liked this one a lot. This is the most surprising Schell’s beer I’ve had. Others have been safely tasty, but not particularly memorable. This was full bodied and drinkable. It had great flavor that didn’t leave a sour lingering taste like I’d expect some stouts to. I found this in a 22oz bottle and thought it might be a challenge to finish – not the case. I even initially thought the label was kind of drab but now I’m kind of smitten with it. Ohh, cute.
I like good coffee, I like good beer. No surprise that I like this combination. Roasty, earthy… notes of chocolate, a hint of smoke. Very nice. Flat Earth did something that no one else has done with their coffee beer, as far as I can tell. Paradise Roasters pulled a ton of coffee through a Clover machine, a labor-intensive job, to say the least. If you haven’t had coffee made in a Clover, I implore you to visit Kopplin’s in St. Paul. In any case, the coffee comes through quite nicely… not bitter or acrid, just lovely. Yum.
I had a great time at the Ugly Mug, although there was definitely a lot of room for improvement in the service. I’m never able to relax until I know my beer is at least on it’s way, and after waiting for about 10 minutes as the server passed us up multiple times, I just went to the bar.
Whatever, the beer was tasty, and at $2.50 a pint it was a great deal. It was also fun to hear first hand from Jeff all about the beer and how they taste-tested many different concentrations, ending up with the 25/1 beer to coffee ratio. Oh and I should mention that even though the server was non-existent, we did manage to order some food. It was bountiful, we must have had 5 enormous chicken tenders, only they were actually full chicken breasts, and the mini hamburgers were more like quarter pounders. I’d go back, but I’d sit at the bar.
So I feel like I’ve been harshing on my boys from Lake Superior a little bit, if only to myself. Their barleywine just didn’t measure up, and their red has disappointed way too many times.
But wow, their Oatmeal Stout is fantastic. The chocolate malts seem to hit me first, followed by a little sourness perhaps, and a nice malty finish. Smooth. I burnt through a bunch of stouts this winter, mainly imperial ones, but I wish this woulda been in my rotation. Nice job, LS!
Ok, truth be told I’m only writing this review because the page throws a bunch of errors when there aren’t any reviews. So I plan to retaste this beer on Saturday when the wife and I get back from our vacation in San Antonio. I remember really liking this beer. We had a sampler pack when we went snowboarding at Lutsen a few months ago, and the Oatmeal Stout was my favorite. So with that distant memory, I’ll give it a solid 4.
“Surly, two years old/ not ev’ryone’s cup of tea / as this beer will prove.” Haiku #4, you’re welcome. I had the first taste of this when I tapped it on the 23rd of January, (at the Blue Nile) and I sipped it and raised my glass and smiled. The bar was surrounded by throngs of Surly fans, and I didn’t want to spoil their enthusiasm. It didn’t win me over with the first slip down my lips, unlike Surly Furious or Darkness.
(I’ve heard this from other folks since then, that the first sip is not the best.) By night’s end, though, when I got a chance to relax and take my time, I was won over. Deep black, with crimson tinges, cocoa-tan head, with purple tints. Fruity nose, matched with roasted malts. Lightly sweet, with a side order of tart.Taste: there’s the tannins. I heard Todd Haug talk about why cranberries have that tannin feel we know from red wine, but I forgot most of what he said. Damn. Something in the bogs, I guess. There’s a flash of sweet, met with a smack of tart, a fun little jitterbug on the palate, followed by some black and chocolate malt flavors. A very unusual brew, closest I’ve encountered has been Bell’s Cherry Stout…never heard of one done with cranberries. It’s probably been done, heck, just about everything’s been done with fruit and beer by now, but I haven’t had it, yet. More I drink, more I like, not too sweet, not too dark, not too rich, not too tart…an intriguing blend, very fresh and lively, a labor of love to commemorate two fun years of great beer. I can certainly see how opinions here will divide on this one, and the extreme flavors, and high alcohol will surely temper enthusiasm. It’s not a session brew, and maybe would be best enjoyed as a dessert brew. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with “one and you’re done”…although I could go for another. But, just one more. So, don’t knock this for what it’s not. You can only enjoy it for what it is.