24 Beers of Christmas – December 12th: Sawdust City Skinny Dipping Stout
An Oatmeal Stout a day keeps the doctor away…
Oatmeal Stouts originated in the United Kingdom, with the first examples of the style appearing just before the turn of the 20th century. Oats had long been a central brewing ingredient across Great Britain, but they had fallen largely out of favour with brewers in the lead up to the popularization of the Oatmeal Stout. The Oatmeal Stout may owe some of its success to marketing. The style was promoted for its nutritional value and strength-giving, medicinal qualities.
Oatmeal Stouts would typically be classified along side other Sweet Stouts. The biggest difference between Sweet Stouts and Dry Stouts is in the use of malts with a high proportion unfermentable sugars. Sweet Stouts will use caramelized malts in their grain bill, for example, where as Dry Stouts will use non-caramelized or roasted malts, which leave behind fewer residual sugars. The residual sugars are one of the elements that produce the thick, creamy mouthfeel that Oatmeal Stouts have become known for. The other is right in the name. Proteins from the Oats break down into medium-sized proteins which help to create a fuller body with an almost silkiness.
This example from Sawdust City Brewing Company may not be the best thing to drink after a giving blood and it certainly won’t replace a meal, but it is an excellent representation of the style and a pleasure to drink. Look for a roastiness with dark chocolate, espresso, dark fruit and even some vanilla and nut in there. There’s a very nice hop spiciness in this beer as well, that helps to refresh and lighten the load slightly. A perfect winter beer – clothing optional.
Style: Oatmeal Stout – 5.5% ABV, 35 IBU, SRM – 45
Food pairings: Game Meat Stew, Smoked gouda, Christmas pudding