Nelson Crowle's picture

Judge's Review: 90 Rating - Imperial Oatmeal Brown Ale by Garage Brewing Co.

November, 2019
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Imperial Oatmeal Brown Ale by Garage Brewing Co. was evaluated as a BJCP 2015 style 33B Specialty Wood-Aged Beer, which covers beers aged in wood where the previous content affects the flavor/aroma. Pours a slightly hazy deep brown with a medium head of large bubbles that quickly dissipates to a small ring of tiny tan bubbles; swirling generates a very small amount of bubbles that quickly fades. The initial aroma is a large oatmeal cereal note, medium chocolate, and light Bourbon. When initially poured, the flavor was an overpowering oatmeal note with moderate sweet chocolate and medium Bourbon notes and a light pleasant coconut/vanilla oaky note. The overpowering oatmeal mellowed out nicely as the beer warmed up, and the chocolate and roasty character melded well - let this beer warm up to 50-60 degree cellar temperature. Medium low earthy and floral hops, and a medium low hop bittering to balance the chocolate and hints of toffee and caramel. Although the beer doesn't present a nice fluffy head, it may be because of the substantial (but clean) alcohol killing the bubble surface tension, so the beer still comes across with a medium level of carbonation. Medium full body with a long lingering finish of chocolate, bourbon and oatmeal, the beer is gaining points as I drink it (and it continues to warm). There's a lot going on in this beer - and the oatmeal is prominent, so pairing with food brings to mind a juicy medium-rare Porterhouse steak - plain and without any butter - let the oatmeal provide the oily and slick mouthfeel with the steak. Add a baked potato with bacon and scallions, leave off the butter, with sour cream on the side.