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Chicagoist's Beer of the Week: Founders Oatmeal Stout

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Nov 1, 2013 6:20PM

2013_11_1_oatmeal_stout.jpgHalloween is behind us and there's no denying that Christmas music will be flooding out of speakers in stores around town sooner than we care to admit. Winter is on its way, folks, so we plan to enjoy what's left of autumn the best way we know how, with a pint of something dark that will surely keep us warm.

Founders Brewing Company's Oatmeal Stout pours over nitrogen, which causes the espresso-tan foam to cascade slowly upwards from the bottom of the glass until it settles into a solid inch of froth at the top. It smells nice, with intense aromas of roast coffee and cocoa hitting us right away. On the palate, the flaked oats in the grain bill keep the beer soft up front with well rounded, almost smokey malts in the middle and a little cocoa powder on the finish. The coffee notes are very present throughout each sip with the smokiness lending a really interesting, almost meaty quality to the mix that makes this stout very complex. At 4.5 percent alcohol content Founders Oatmeal Stout is amazingly full-flavored yet incredibly easy drinking.

In recent years a growing number of breweries have been releasing nitrogen-conditioned beers. What once was a technique used by Guinness and a handful of other Irish and English breweries has now become a wildly popular thing in the American craft beer scene. Many breweries not only incorporate nitrogen conditioning into their stouts but also pale ales, IPAs, and other styles. Beers poured over nitrogen usually take about two minutes to settle in the glass since nitrogen is a less permeable gas than carbon dioxide and it takes much longer for it to dissolve into the beer. Nitrogen gives beer a creamier consistency and mouthfeel which can make a lighter beer seem heavier than it really is and a higher alcohol content beer taste like a session beer. It doesn't necessarily make a beer better or worse, just different, although we feel that certain beers tend to benefit greatly from the process.

Check to see who's pouring Founders Oatmeal Stout in your neighborhood this weekend.