Review: Stone Hammer Brewing - Oatmeal Coffee Stout

Admittedly, I stole this photo idea shamelessly from friend of the club, Brett, aka @craftbeerlove1 on Instagram.  I've still got some work to do to make my shots look as good as his, but it's a start!

Brewery: StoneHammer Brewing

Location: Guelph, Ontario

Style: Oatmeal Coffee Stout

ABV: 5.0%

IBU: 30

Available at: LCBO

   I first encountered StoneHammer several years back while visiting one of my very good friends and honorary-member-abroad of the OBC, Andy, who then resided in beautiful Guelph.  He took us to a place that everyone knows if they've ever been to Guelph: The Woolwich Arrow.  As a budding craft beer enthusiast who was just learning that Keith's isn't an IPA and there is so much more to beer than American Adjunct Lagers, I was blown away by the Wooly.  I was just warming up to the idea of dark ales, porters and stouts.  So when the server brought me a StoneHammer Dark... well, let's just say my socks were veritably blown off.  Since that day, I get excited whenever I come across one of their products on the LCBO shelves here in Ottawa.

   Stouts come in a variety of styles, and I'll drink 'em all.  I'm a huge fan of Oatmeal Stouts, such as St. Ambroise's Oatmeal Stout which is arguably the gold standard of the style here in Canada.  And even though I can't stand coffee on its own I also love Coffee Stouts, such as Dieu du Ciel's Peche Mortel.  But I have yet to have a stout that calls itself both, or if I had it was clearly not a memorable one.  With high hopes due to both the brewery and the style, let's dive in and see how this Oatmeal Coffee Stout measures up!

   Pouring as one would expect from a stout, there's a thick and frothy beige head with plenty of retention that leaves thin lacing. Near-black, like motor oil, with a hue of dark brown around the edges.

   The aroma delivers quite well on the namesake: tons of roasted coffee, notes of chocolate, and earthy roasted barley.  Very, very roasty!

   And those roast characteristics carry very strongly into the flavor profile.  Up front there's a huge amount of roasted barley and coffee.  As it washes down the middle of the tongue that deep roast gives way to hints of bittersweet dark chocolate and light notes of caramel and vanilla.  There's a certain oily feel to the mouth coating that contributes to a lingering bitter and drying aftertaste.

   All in all, this is a solid blend of Oatmeal and Coffee in a stout.  It's all very bold and in your face.  I'd love to see a little more of the chocolate come through, maybe a little closer to the milk chocolate side of things rather than dark chocolate?  That'd give it a little more sweetness and maybe give it a little more of a creamy mouthfeel.  That would make this great beer an exceptional one for me.

   All that said, this is definitely a must-try!  If you like your stout roasty with tons of coffee, this is for you!

-James