Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1/30: Potosi Fiddler Oatmeal Stout

I am drinking differently now, and differently than I thought I would.  Tonight, among the thoughts about the taste of the beer (is that toasted cherry?), I am thinking "how is this stout any different than a porter?"  Luckily, I have MJ to help me on my journey.  In Companion, he says that in the heyday of porters, brewers would make several different strengths of porters, and the fuller-bodied ones became known as stouts.(p. 170)  Fiddler has 8% abv, so I suppose it qualifies as a stout, even if it is the only porter/stout that the brewery makes.  But this one isn't just a stout, it is an oatmeal stout.  And oatmeal stouts are considered to be a more nutritious than "regular" stouts.

MJ claims that a comment he wrote in a  1977 book resurrected the oatmeal stout style.  According to MJ, "Brewers with vague recollections of having made the style in the 1950s maintain that they used up to 15% oats." (p. 187)  But because oats gelatinize and make mashing difficult - and because "oats in the lower single figures" influence the taste, MJ doesn't think an oatmeal stout needs that high a percentage of oats. (p. 187)  Potosi Brewery in Potosi, Wisconsin agrees with him, they use 10% oats in this seasonal beer. 

It was good.  A 3 on my scale.  There is nothing wrong with this beer.  It had the dark roasted caramel, coffee, chocolate, toasted fruit flavors that are typically found in a porter or stout, but if the oats imparted a "firm, smooth, silky body" to the beer (p. 187), I missed that.  (It is much subtler than the rye beers.)  But if they snuck healthy oatmeal into my beer without me noticing, then these brewers from the southwest corner of my state are to be commended.

As I approach the end of my first month of my year of beers, I am contemplating changes.  I can find time to drink a beer every day, but finding the time to write about them has been more difficult.  It often takes an hour to write a post.  I am losing sleep on some nights.  Maybe I will cut back on my posts.  Of course, things like illness, coaching or international travel may interfere with my ability to drink a beer everyday.  We will see how it goes, but I guarantee that I will post tomorrow with my 31st beer of January, 2013.  Or my name isn't...

-Jim from Milwaukee

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