Samuel Smith Old Brewery – The Celebrated Oatmeal Stout


Whenever I try a new beer, I compare it to a similar offering from Samuel Smith Old Brewery. These venerable beers have decked the shelves of quality liquor stores for at least two generations in the states, and continue to sell because of their fundamental quality as interpreted by people who enjoy having a pint that is a flavor experience in itself.

The Celebrated Oatmeal Stout has a slightly bitter, thoroughly grainy, and rich dark taste that rewards the drinker with an even consistency from top to bottom of the glass. Unlike the hipster beers which ramp up a single flavor component, the slight bitterness expands into a creamy caramel which balances the yeasty tastes. The reason for its bitterness is revealed as it becomes clear that without that to balance the sweetness, this beer would seem like syrup, where with it, The Celebrated Oatmeal Stout takes on the flavor dimensions of a good coffee: an initial bite, then a caramelized nuttiness, followed by a smooth and warm taste, all of which are ensconced in a basic richness that makes this the beer you want if you can have only one.

It is not exactly the news to write a review praising Samuel Smith Old Brewery in 2015, but it is a good reminder: for half of what you spend on hipster IPAs, you can get a classic that has nurtured casual drinkers for generations. It is too intense in both flavor and body to drink like an alcoholic, but serves as the perfect complement to a winter afternoon. Unlike most beers, it feels clean and whole in the mouth and does not break down into its constituent components. Like the best of beers, it combines flavor with composition and delivers a 5% ABV without it overshadowing the other aspects of the beer. Keep your trendy beers; this is all I’ll need.

Quality rating: 5/5
Purchase rating: 5/5

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4 thoughts on “Samuel Smith Old Brewery – The Celebrated Oatmeal Stout

  1. Daniel Maarat says:

    Great beer. The reason beers called “oatmeal stouts” tend to be good is as they are generally just Sam Smith clones. “Oatmeal stout” wasn’t really a style a beer before porter and non-milk/dry stouts died out in the UK; oats were just another thing thrown in the mash to increase mouthfeel after it became legal (and probably before it was legal) to use unmalted grains. Breweries would usually do things like release the same beer in different degrees plato/strengths and brand it differently: “porter”, “stout”, “Export stout”, “Oatmeal stout”, “oyster stout” etc. Sometimes these were different beers like with Guinness today (the Draught, Export, and Foreign Export Stouts are completely different beers) but most often they just made the mash for everything .5-2% oats or something for mouthfeel, chucked in a couple Oysters to not be false advertising, and that was that. Sam Smith’s Oatmeal Stout is a modern thing from the 70s.

  2. Flying Kites says:

    Hail Oats!

    I have recently had Lagunita’s Brown Shugga seasonal. It smells like pineapple, tastes like peasant’s brandy, but it will get your dick sucked.

  3. Demonseed says:

    Agreed great beer and non-trendy to drink too . unlike cruddy popular stuff like Flat Tire .

    My favorite underrated beers of all time are Czech beers. The best being Krusoviche , Velvet , and Velko- Popovicky Kozel . Pegas ( if I remember right) , Primus , Gambrinus , and Staropramen arte also good . They seem to have different percentage alcohols available at various taps in Czech . Also the Czech version of Budweiser which predates the American version (they sued Anheiser) is good .

  4. hhhhhh says:

    Great brew. It is the standard of quality for me as well. When I think that this brewery has been around 250 years as I look at the beers at the store, I think to myself will any of these beers be around in even 100 years(referring to the hipster competition). I then think will they even be around in 20 years? Then I realize that capitalism is great and how terrible protectionist tariffs are. All those producers of cinnamon mango coffee cake latte beer might get together to ban imported beer as competition while deriding the ‘evils’ of capitalism.

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