Saturday, 16 January 2016

Stone Hammer Oatmeal Coffee Stout

Stone Hammer Oatmeal Coffee Stout sprung of the liquor store shelf and into my waiting arms faster than you can say "unhealthy relationship with alcohol." Hailing from Guelph, Ontario, SHS is the progeny of Stone Hammer Brewing and a partnership with Planet Bean Coffee. According to the 473mL can, this beer is brewed up nice using a single origin coffee called Café Feminino. At a regulation 5%, this ale won't overawe with potency, but it does pack a saucy 30 IBUs. It poured coffee black, under a zealous tan head.

SHS has a heady, malt-driven aroma that boils up some nice café mocha notes, as well as a touch of sweets. However, like a fine cuppa, there is considerable bitterness laced throughout the flavour, experienced as both French roast and hops leanings. The finish is particularly punchy, with heavy-handed coffee elements.

This beer tastes considerably stronger than its 5% pedigree. According to the can, it's a five-time award winner, headlined by golds at the Ontario Brewing Awards. This is understandable, considering the lovely java tones that stoke SHS's fire. It could use a more boisterous opening note, but its nose and finish pack enough heft to make up for that minor shortcoming. It's been ages since I was able to try something new from Stone Hammer--their Dark was an early fave when I moved to Ontario five+ years ago, but since then, I've not seen much innovation. Hopefully this beaut of a beer is a herald of more things to come from this unsung Ontario brewer.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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