Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Boonville, CA


Information: From the Site: “With its deep, dark brown-black color, thick, full-bodied, velvety-smooth mouth feel, mocha character, and, strong yet subtle hop bite, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout is one of the thickest, richest, and most complex stouts on the market today. In 1990, it became our first gold medal winner, at the Great American Beer Festival. Barney Flats was judged so superior to the other stouts that no other medals were even awarded in its category. Try it and see why Stewart Kallen described it as, “Slippery, creamy, dark, and sweet as a Pacific May morning,” in his book, The 50 Greatest Beers in the World.”

You’d think that after as many stouts as I’ve had over the past year or so that maybe, just maybe I’d be getting bored of such similarities. Well, fortunately for me, I haven’t. In fact, given the choice between ten different and varying brews with one choice being a stout, 9 times out of 10, that’s the one I’ll choose. Couple that with the fact that this promises to be something special just judging from the blurb above and well, there’s the very reason why I find new stouts so special.

The pour is as stout-like as you could possibly imagine: deep dark, rich, a slightly tan head that miraculously vaporizes into nothingness, and a smell that hides nothing from its name. It wafts deeply of sweet oats, dark caramels, and a hint of bitter-sweet chocolate. Opening with a swirl only seeks to aerate the smells and deepen the aromas.

This is absolutely the reason why I’ll try a new stout each and every chance I get, because I just might find one as stunningly delicious as this. It’s wistfully sweet with a robe of light cocoa and balanced coffee flavors. It has a backbone of oatmeal for sure, but so cloying that it reminds you of a bowl of Quaker. But don’t get me wrong: it’s definitely there. There are melodic back notes of buttery caramel and roasted malts with harmonies consisting of toasted nuts. This is perhaps one of the most perfectly balanced and velvety stouts I have ever had, and I have had a lot of stouts. Many stouts seems so very similar and cookie-cutter of their brethren, but this is a new kind of masterpiece that stands out from the reproductions. If you are a stout fan, you are doing yourself a grave disservice not seeking this brew out. Wonderful. Pair this with a fine steak. Yummy.

Rating: * * * * *
Not very often does a stout of this caliber come along. But when it does, it’s a kind of magic.