In college, you may have thought about a quick way to down a beer and still get all your proper nutrition. However, an oatmeal stout isn't oatmeal that you dumped into a Guinness and threw in the microwave. It's actually a type of dark beer that's made by the addition of oatmeal to the brewing process.
Mass-produced beer opts for corn or rice, microbrewers love wheat, and still others feel like oatmeal is the way to go. It adds a complexity to the beer, yet it's fuller than a dry stout and a bit less intense than an imperial stout. You may find it just the right mix of bitterness and flavor, like if Goldilocks made her way to a bar instead of the home of the three bears.
How Is Oatmeal Stout Made?
Oatmeal stout has its roots in Scotland and northern England, where stouts have been popular for hundreds of years. However, few brewers ever threw oatmeal into the mix, opting for barley instead. Perhaps it was on a dare or due to lack of barley, but producers began adding the gelatinized version of oats to the mix in the early 20th century. The result is a beer that's not as bitter or roasted-tasting as a normal stout, yet with a hearty sweetness without the aroma. It's kind of like visiting your grandma, but there's no strange potpourri emanating from somewhere you can't find.
While the oatmeal stout industry nearly disappeared around 1980, brewers such as Samuel Smith brought it back to life. This Lazarus-esque maneuver allows stout lovers to enjoy something different from the norm, but without sacrificing the delicious taste of a stout. It has a slightly different flavor depending on where it's made, but American versions tend to have a more pronounced hoppy taste than their European counterparts.
Still, both continents have an oatmeal stout that's a perfect fit for your tastes. With an average ABV of between 5 percent and 6.5 percent, it also has a kick that you'll love. You won't have to pair it with a meal, though. If you think it isn't a meal in a glass, you've got another think coming.