“. . . The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
Tasting Notes comfortably eases us into the work week with a look at Lovely, Dark and Deep Oatmeal Stout from Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, New York).
It is not too often that I get to combine my loves of great beer and fine literature, but Brewery Ommegang has more than accommodated this quirky/nerdy need of mine by creating Lovely, Dark and Deep Oatmeal Stout. With a name inspired by the final stanza of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, this Oatmeal Stout serves as a Winter Seasonal that is more than capable of warming the hearts and souls of even the weariest of travelers. This limited release has been brewed with a rich blend of malts, lactose, Ommegang’s signature house yeast, and Bravo and Styrian Golding hops. At just 5.3% ABV, this offering proves to be a fantastic go-to option no matter what kind of winter you are forced to endure. Lovely, Dark and Deep Oatmeal Stout is available for a limited time in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft. If you are interested, you can still find this one on shelves and taps at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida and throughout the rest of Brewery Ommegang’s distribution network.
With all of that background information covered, I do believe it is time to crack open a book, pour a glass and get to some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Lovely, Dark and Deep Oatmeal Stout from Brewery Ommegang
Appearance: Lovely, Dark and Deep fills the tulip glass as a dark black, completely opaque beer that is wearing over two fingers of mocha colored foam. Held to direct light, the color softens just a shade to the darkest of browns possible and has a deep red glow residing at the very bottom of the glass. The head has incredible staying power, eventually falling to a creamy half finger only because of the huge amount of lace it leaves behind after each sip.
Aroma: The beer grabs your attention quickly with an initial aromatic pop filled with rich notes of oats and other grains. These malts captivate with a deeply roasted, nearly charred character. Once the malts invite you in, notes of dark chocolate, coffee and toasted multi-grain bread quickly emerge to greet the nose. Dark fruit, a dash of anise, and just a breath of light smoke rounds off the profile. Proudly robust, this beer’s aroma absolutely sets the tone for the experience ahead.
Taste: We have a new development here and it is Belgian yeast. Mingling with the dark malts, this yeast character softly presents itself with light qualities of spice, licorice, prune and plum. This works gorgeously with the style’s expected notes of hearty grains, cocoa and roasted coffee. The beer finishes with a bit of cream to impart just a touch of sweet vanilla. All of these notes fit snugly together to make each sip extraordinarily flavorful.
Mouthfeel: This Oatmeal Stout falls on the fuller side of medium in body with a lifting carbonation presence. The beer is delightfully silken and creamy on the palate, and it ultimately dries out quite nicely. At just 5.3%, the ABV plays no role in this beer and keeps the experience incredibly easy-drinking. The aftertaste leaves behind a touch of chocolate milk and earthy yeast character.
Final Thoughts: After spending quite a bit of time enjoying this beer while re-reading “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, Lovely, Dark and Deep Oatmeal Stout has proven to be a wonderfully brewed ode to the poem for which it has been named. On the surface, this offering stays true to its obligations to the style by showcasing notes of roasted malts, coffee and cocoa. The brewers clearly paid close attention here, stopping to recognize and appreciate the beauty found in the Oatmeal Stouts that have come before this one. With that responsibility more than adequately satisfied, they then dug a little deeper by using Ommegang’s signature house yeast. This seemingly minor change is all that is needed for the beer to take its own form and make a name for itself. Something distinguishable and willing to push beyond what is known. Something that strongly affirms, “This is undoubtedly Ommegang.” Something not to be forgotten. Simply put, Lovely, Dark and Deep is an eloquently composed, artfully crafted Oatmeal Stout that just cannot be missed. Prost!