Sean Coughlin's picture

Bowen's Island Oyster Stout

February, 2017
Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
5 / 6
36 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Holy City Brewing’s Bowen’s Island Oyster Stout is being evaluated as an Irish Stout (Category 15B) according to the BJCP guidelines. While Guinness Draught is widely considered the quintessential example of the style, Irish Stout has a fair amount of leeway for interpretation. 

The aroma seems a bit subdued overall on this beer. Roast and coffee notes are evident but faint. No hops are present in the aroma, allowing for the greatest possible expression of malt. Digging deeper, there are some complex raisin-like notes that pop up as the beer warms.

The appearance is a bit disappointing with the dark khaki head quickly vanishing, which gives the impression that the beer is lacking carbonation. 

The initial impression upon the first taste is that the beer seems big for an Irish Stout – a full mouthfeel and perhaps a little strong. The flavor profile follows the aroma with restrained roast and a fair amount of sweetness for the style. There is a medium level of bitterness that helps the balance, but the malt character comes across a bit too sweet overall.    

This is an enjoyable and well-made beer that has a bit too much sweetness and is lacking coffee/roast throughout. A bit less body would also help the balance. This beer falls somewhere between a Dry (Irish) Stout and a Sweet (milk) stout.