Cruising through my local Whole Foods Market, I come across this giant pile of River Horse Oatmeal Milk Stout. I wasn’t planning on buying beer for The Brew Club this evening, (I swear, I wasn’t!) but this monolithic beer display got me thinking.
For one, River Horse Brewing Company is a New Jersey based brewer, and I’m consciously trying to buy New Jersey beers to review from time to time. Secondly, the beer sounded like something I’d LOVE! Oatmeal Milk Stout. Nuff’ said! Third, this pile of beer was so big, I had to take a six pack off of it just to get to the checkout line!
So, with my River Horse beer, and some other selections in tow, I made it back to my humble abode where the ‘science’ all happens! 😉
The Oatmeal Milk Stout is something of a mystery. It’s not even on the River Horse website, so I couldn’t even do any background research on the beer! The best I can tell from scrounging around on the interwebs is that its a special-release beer and that its in the 6.7% ABV neighborhood.
This Jersey oatmeal stout pours pretty much an opaque black color into my glass and created a wonderfully colored chocolate brown head. The head has decent frothiness and as it dissipates it reminds me of a cappiccino from the top with areas of darker brown amongst the sea of foam.
The aroma of this beer has me wondering if its mislabeled somehow! I’m picking up notes of chocolate and coffee malts and there is also lurking the smell of alcohol. I guess at almost 7% that shouldn’t be a surprise, but it seemed a bit dominating to me. Again, I would have named it something like Coffee Chocolate Oatmeal Milk Stout, but that doesn’t really roll off the tongue now does it?
Taste is initially a bit on the bitter side, and I think that’s where the oatmeal is kicking in. Any Milk Stouts I’ve had in the past have been much sweeter and creamier than this Oatmeal Milk Stout from River Horse. The bitterness is a little bit of a turn off for me because it doesn’t seem to subside or change throughout the sip. Its just bitter all the way through, almost to the point where I’m thinking it has a slightly odd metallic twang that just isn’t thrilling.
Aside from my above criticism, there is the coffee and chocolate flavors, but for me the bitterness and the alcohol flavors throw this beer a bit off balance. I was also surprised at how the ‘Milk’ part of the Stout just didn’t seem to show up for the show. Oatmeal bittery-ness wins the battle here.
Still, this River Horse brew has a nice creamy mouthfeel, and I’d say that its moderately drinkable – but it will take some more time to finish the rest of them. Not something I’d rush back to.
So there it is. Overall, the River Horse Oatmeal Milk Stout is a decent beer from Jersey, but I guess I was expecting something a bit different than what I got. Not a bad beer, but not something that I’d consider to be all that memorable or go out of my way to purchase again – unless I had to buy some to get out of the store!
If my rating system had a 2.75 star, that’s what I’d give it, but I’m going to round it up to 3 stars because its local New Jersey beer!