Friday, January 11, 2019

Great Lakes Imperial Oyster Stout

The oyster stout has always perplexed me.  I am not a brewmaster. I have never brewed a beer. However, I have shucked many an oyster.  And, with a deep knowledge of the oyster, I have a hard time picturing how a brewer can add oysters to a beer to make an oyster stout.

Of course, this style of beer has existed for quite some time.  Back in the late 1800s, oysters were added to beer to "promote clarity."  Whether that clarity was ever achieved, it was undeniable that oysters provided a subtle, smooth mouthfeel and a briny flavor to the beer. To be sure, there is a difference between an oyster stout and a run-of-the-mill stout.  The mouthfeel and brine that is provided by oysters is perhaps the reason why brewers have continued to add oysters to beer. After all, what does clarity have to do with an oyster stout?  An oyster stout beer is supposed to be as black as pitch darkness. 

Anyways, if I had to choose what would be the best oyster stout that I have ever had, it would be the Great Lakes Imperial Oyster Stout.  The brewers at Great Lakes used "East Coast oysters," which is a useless label, given the wide variety of oysters along the eastern coast of the United States. For example, there is a huge difference between oysters found in the estuaries in Maine and the oysters found in the Chesapeake Bay.  Whatever oysters were used, they clearly did add a smoothness in the body of the beer and a slight briny element in the finish. 

As for the other ingredients, the brewers used an interesting combination of malts and hops.  The malts include Harrington 2-Row, Roasted Barley, Oats, Chcoolate, Cara 45.  The hops were both Simcoe and Mt. Hood. The other ingredients included the obvious -- oysters -- and the less the slightly less obvious -- cacao nibs and salt. The end result is a beer with an IBU of 37 and an ABV of 11%.

The Imperial Oyster Stout pours pitch black, the blackness one would expect when he or she  was floating in the middle of deep space, far away from the light of any star.  A slight tan foam appears as the beer is poured in to the glass.  The foam recedes rather quickly to the edges of the glass, exposing the beer to the nose.  

The aromatic elements, along with the taste of the beer, of the beer heavily emphasize the roasted malts.  There are notes of chocolate, as well as some mild coffee flavors in the taste of the beer.  The thing that sets this oyster stout apart from the others that I have had in the past is that there was truly a "softness" in the beer, which could only be attributed to the oysters.  

This beer is definitely worth the purchase. My only regret is that I did not buy an extra bottle.  Until next time...


No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...