Oregon's Rogue Ales has never been one of my go-to breweries. When trying to figure out why, I thought of this: except for Dead Guy, I can't think of another beer they make that is available in a 6 pack. Since this is what I usually buy, I haven't had too many Rogue brews. That is a real shame, because they consistently put out outstanding ales at a reasonable cost compared to some of the more chic east coast breweries.
When I was searching for a commercial yeast to harvest for an upcoming homebrew, Rogue kept coming up. They use the same yeast in all their beers, a proprietary blend that supposedly is very hearty and produces great beer. I went to Wegmans to see what they had from Rogue, and held some bottles up against the light to see if I could identify some yeast residue at the bottom. I can't imagine what people thought I was doing. ("Mommy what is that man doing?" "Don't look hunny lets go down this aisle with the napkins!")
I ended up picking up the Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout. Rogue is unique in that it lists all of the ingredients in its beer right on the side of the bottle. As a homebrewer I appreciate this gesture, and in a way I feel like it should be required. When you buy wine you know what grapes were used in it, why shouldn't I know what kind of hops are in my favorite beer? I think it might make people more interested in what goes into the beer they drink and they might actually start exploring different kinds of microbrews.
Anyways, onto the beer. I poured out all but the last 2 inches of the 22oz bottle very slowly, so that the yeast sediment remained on the bottom. the beer pours with a giant head, the picture was taken after it fell about half way. Eventually it settles to a nice lacing that remains all the way through.
The smell is very roasty, with a noticeable alcohol aroma. I don't smell oatmeal(not sure what it even smells like), but maybe some milk chocolate and subtle cherry notes. It sits quite heavily on the tongue and has an earthy, almost oakey characteristic. It definitely has some chocolate flavor to it, but it is fairly subtle. It is very light on the smokiness, which I appreciate since I am not a huge fan. This has just the right amount of roastiness and actually has a great hoppy bitter profile as well.
This is a fantastic beer, and is perfect for the start of winter. I think if I let this sit in the basement for a few months the alcohol would probably fade into the background and the malt would come up, but with the hoppiness that is there I wouldn't want to let it sit too long. I highly recommend trying this beer if you are a fan of stouts. I haven't had enough oatmeal stouts to say how it compares to that genre, but as a stout it is one of the better ones I have tried. I will definitely be searching out Rogue bombers next time I look for something new. I give this 8/10 animated yeast cells.