Captain Bastard's Oatmeal Stout

Do you prefer to drink or chew your beer? There’s just something about a good heavy drink that can really satisfy. If I’m craving a rich, malty, filling beer, I usually reach for a stout. Oatmeal Stouts are especially known for being thick, and being imparted with the natural starches and such from the oats. When I saw the Squatter’s Brewery mascot of a Corsair pig and the name Captain Bastard’s Oatmeal Stout, I decided to give it a whirl. The story on the bottle says that it is brewed with oatmeal, Chinook hops, roasted barley, pale, caramel, and chocolate malts. I’m in the mood, it sounds good, what more do you want? I picked it up in a ‘build your own six-pack’ for about $2 and some change.

Once home with my brew, I brought it down to just a little above cellar temperature, ready to drink and enjoy, without losing too many flavors. Even with a full pour into a glass, there was very little head to speak of. What little there was quickly subsided, leaving just a little tan ring. The beer itself poured pitch black and surprisingly thin for a stout. In fact, it was pretty bubbly for a stout too, with a thin stream of carbonation rising from spots on the bottom. These are not things that I generally associate with an oatmeal stout. To me, they are usually thicker, less carbonated, and commonly have a longer lasting head. This was not enough to turn me off of it though. As the old saying goes, “Fortune Favors the Bold.”

There was not much of an aroma, but I could definitely get hints of toasted malt and chocolate, also, some kind of sweetness, like a toasted marshmallow. Not like a cremated one, mind you, but like an actual toasted golden marshmallow. When tasted though, you get much more of the coffee and charcoal flavor than anything sweet, as well as ashy flavors and malt throughout. The hops, like in most stouts, were barely present, perhaps somewhat lost in the smoky, malty goodness of a stout.

One thing about this beer kind of got to me. The feel of it wasn’t thick and creamy, but very thin. How much oatmeal did they use? Somewhere between none and hardly any? This disappointing feature was somewhat distracting from a solid beer. Surely, this is the work of the Draconian alcohol laws of Squatter’s home state, UTAH. For beer to be served in a brew-pub, restaurant, or a grocery store, it must be a maximum of 4 percent alcohol by volume. A tighter window on fermentation and on amounts of yeast and sugar is required as well as a greater incentive to commit the beer-sin of watering down a batch.

I shudder to imagine the beer-free, prohibition-era gulag dissident brewers are thrown into when violating these archaic and backwards laws. Somehow, despite this, the numbered-limitation on liquor licenses, the suspicious days and times when you cannot buy alcohol, liquor stocks that must be kept a members-only secret, and no open-saloon bars in the state, Utah craft-breweries still manage to churn out some of the most interesting beers this side of the Eighteenth Amendment.


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