So this past Tuesday was our monthly brew club meeting. I brought a growler of my (newly named) Wilford’s Best Oatmeal Stout to the meeting to get some feedback from fellow brewers. For anyone out there that doesn’t currently attend brew club meetings in your area, I recommend you change that. It’s an outstanding place to meet up with fellow brewers, share advice, taste beers, and get some solid feedback. Brewing in bubble isn’t healthy.
Anyway, I sought out some feedback on the brew and was not disappointed with the response. Fellow brewers are gentle, but constructively critical. Here are some of the highlights of the feedback:
Pros – It was generally seen as a smooth beer, especially compared to some of the commercial stouts we tasted that night. Most found it to have good mouth feel without an overpowering alcohol burn. One club member noted the chocolate notes that were subtle, but present. The overall view was that it was a surprisingly good drinking stout considering the 7%abv.
Cons – Lacks the “wham-bang” of some more complex and rich stouts. It’s a good beer, but not a great beer. It’s a little high for style (abv), but with stouts there is a pretty wide accepted range.
So over all I was really happy with the response. I was going for a palatable stout that I was be comfortable drinking 10 gallons of. The feedback was in line with what I was looking for, both the positive and the negative.
After the meeting, I decided to have a glass to collect some of my thoughts. After trying three different stouts and a handful of other brews, I found that Wilford’s Best did lack some complexity. While is was drinkable and had nice mouth feel, it really fell short on the flavors. It could use some hints of toffee, chocolate and coffee to really set it off. Instead, you get a great swath of delicious aroma and the flavor falls short.
*Notes for next time, split up the roasted barley with some 120L crystal and a small amount of chocolate malt. I think that this will give some more complexity, but it needs to be done in moderation as this could make the beer really over powering.