Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Beervana, #2 Stouts continued. Barley Island Brass Knuckles Oatmeal Stout Cask Review

OMG Beer! Rating: 7.7

I wonder how many brewers ponder over the chance to do a cask offering of their beer. Essentially, you're toning down the carbonation, but this sometimes result in a very different flavor profile. A dry-hopped cask beer, naturally carbonated and lightly so, can end up too sweet, too dry, too roasty, not roasted enough for style, too fresh, too bland, basically anything but too carbonated. There's an inherent risk basically, in presenting your beer to the world through this old school delivery of beer, if for no other reason than that most beer is still drunk cold and force-carbonated. I get pretty excited when I'm given the chance to try something on cask, just to see it presented from a different perspective.

My first thought upon seeing Brass Knuckles Oatmeal Stout from Barley Island on cask was that I shouldn't try it. That I should have it in a bottle and then go back to the bar offering it on cask, compare after the fact. But, I couldn't do that. I wanted Oatmeal Stout. I wanted dry roasted goodness lingering on my tongue after a creamy sip of deep, dark beer. Brass Knuckles smelled of roasted coffee wafting out of a cup of nuts and dark chocolate, with just a breeze of hops present in the nose. Earthy. Really nice bouquet. My tongue intrigued by what my nose detected, I took a pretty deep sip. Bitter roasted coffee, more hops than I expected, and the chocolate and nuts more subdued than in the aroma. Slight disappointment. I kept hoping each sip would have the flavor intensity and complexity of the aroma, but it never quite arrived. Interestingly, as it warmed even more in my hands, hints of peanuts. Seriously, peanuts. Though I feel like the initial flavor ends up being a let down, the creamy but not too heavy body leaves behind a hint of milk chocolate and intense roasted flavors that almost border on smoky.

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