Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Stoudt's Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal Stout - Can It Run With the Big Dogs?

Dateline: Western Pennsylvania, April 3, 2007 (9:22pm EDT).

As I sit here writing this, it's 72 degrees outside at 9:22pm on April 3rd. Seventy-two degrees!?!? Yes, hard to believe. It went all the way to 82 today and tomorrow, the bottom falls out. Snow, yes snow should be falling about this time tomorrow evening and snow will fall supposedly throughout Easter weekend. Wow! For the craft beer drinker here in Western PA it's a typical spring swing, a roller coaster of temps, weather and extremes. Nothing all that new. But it does pose a slight problem when it comes to embibing in a suitable malted beverage. What to do, what to do?

Should I go with a Maibock or Doppelbock? Something lighter, maybe even a fruit beer? Heck no. We've got snow on the way, and April or not, when it's snowing outside, nothing goes better inside than a winter-style beer. Digging deep in the back of the fridge, I've found my poison of choice for this evening. An oatmeal imperial stout it is. Stoudts Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal Stout to be precise.

Brewed all the way over in the eastern side of Pennsylvania in Adamstown, Stoudt's craft brews have long held a respectable slot in my microbrew and craft beer rankings. Their Fat Dog Imperial Stout does not disappoint either.

Pouring my chilled 12 ounce bottle into a 16 ounce Stoudt's American Pale Ale pint glass (yes, acquired direct at the brewery on a visit a few years back), this ale spills a licorice black, but not quite as thick as I've typically experienced or might have expected in an imperial stout.

A light caramel, filmy head shortly leads to a quick meltdown to nothing more than a toffy corona of meek foam clinging only to the glass wall. I've seen Cokes with more creamy patches floating about than this brew.

Taking a deep whiff of aroma off the top, there is really a very true and rich chocolate scent. Along with the chocolate, there's only a twinge of roasted coffee that I could pick up. That's a little different right off the bat from many imperials that I've tried. Twinges of alcohol pinch at the nostrils just a bit as well. To be expected I guess from a 9+% ABV adult beverage.

Taste features a suitable chocolately flavor, but yet, yes there are the roasted coffee tones as well. In fact far more than I perceived from the smell only. But still, dark and creamy chocolate rules the day here. Even some punches of molasses can be found in the overall ambience of flavor.

Mouthful is not quite as thick as I would have expected either. A little more thin than I would like in an Imperial Stout, but hey that's just me talking. Lacing on my glass is also quite non-existent. In fact, the glass is almost as clean, as I finish the beer, as it was when I started. It almost has that scrubbing bubbles type of effect. I could stick this glass right back in the cupboard and my wife would never know!

In the whole sense of things, if you were asking me, I would highly recommend Stoudt's Fat Dog Oatmeal Imperial Stout. I personally would certainly rank it in my Top 10 of Imperial Stouts (of those that I've tried, limited as that may be). It definitely fits well within the guidelines of what one would expect to find in a quality, craft brewed imperial stout. It is enjoyable, with enough flavor to satisfy some of the more discriminating stout afficianado tastes. While not perfect in my book, it does present iteself well, is chocolately, warming and memorable. A great microbrew to partake of on a warm and balmy, early April night, on the eve of an impending cold front and blowing snow and squalls. Grab yourself a Stoudts Fat Dog Oatmeal Imperial Stout before things really heat up in May. This is not a beer for a mid-summer night's dream.

You can check out more reviews of new microbrews and fun microbrew and craft beer related info at Microbrew Review or My Squidoo Lens. Check out Summer Microbrew too!

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