I had been drinking quite a few Imperial stouts of late and was really enjoying them. I came across something that sort of caught my attention many times when imbibing beer. I saw many stouts listed as containing oats, and calling themselves Oatmeal Stouts. It was time... to become acquainted with such drink...
I settled in on Founders and a curious item that was called a Breakfast stout. I thought this was an odd product but if my love of espresso and beer was good this should be a match made in heaven.
The other item that I had to try for comparison and highly recommended to me was Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout from Anderson Valley. A large bottle consisting of a label picturing an idyllic mountain background, western lettering, and California produced roots even equipped with a sunny yellow bottle cap with the adoring words "Solar Powered Brewery".
So what's the verdict? Well they are both two fantastic beers but they are also dramatically different from each other. The Founders is one of the only "coffee-like" beers I have had thus far that I really REALLY enjoy. This is a coffee lovers beer, and ironically with the malt and hop profile on it, it feels like fresh HOT brewed coffee. This is no joke... a breakfast beer, you could have this first thing in the morning. The bitterness from hops, that Founders uses in all their beers, is used to balance the sweetness of the malts and also used as a natural preservative, so mentioned to me by Head Brewer Jeremy Kosmicki.
I was wondering if hops were really what I detected in Founders, but I was correct in thinking so. I emailed Founders about their great product and discovered that they put hops in ALL their beers.
Barney Flats is very different. Big sweet Ovaltine like nose, coming in with a big fruit berry finish, well balanced. Highly drinkable.
Don't take my word for it, see the video review below. CHEERS!