Tag Archives: Nut Brown

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

Established in 1758, Yorkshire’s oldest brewery, Samuel Smith, is one of few major UK breweries that are being steadily imported by the BCLDB. At any time of the year, one my find a variety of beers produced by Samuel Smith, such as their Nut Brown, IPA, or, what we’re reviewing today, their Oatmeal Stout. Sold in single 500ml bottles, the beer, though relatively expensive, doesn’t break the bank — you don’t have to buy a whole 6-pack! — so it’s certainly worth the risk!

– Kamran


To me, there is no risk involved. This is a great oatmeal stout that will please the palate of any and all guzzler’s of dark beer. Though originally used as a marketing tool, the addition of oatmeal, here, is not done in vain, as it’s done in some other so-called oatmeal stouts. The small proportion of oats lend a protein-based smoothness and a slight enhancement of the vanilla sweetness already contained in the stout. While I’m a huge fan of Guinness, I’d highly recommend trying Sam Smith as an alternative for stout incorporated cooking.

The nose has plenty of malt, but not enough to overwhelm. This is similar on the palate, where the sweetness of the oatmeal, as well as the variety of malts, come through. It is quite delicate, and finely balanced; however, I’d prefer more roast and hops than what is given — Mcauslan (St. Amroise) Oatmeal Stout fits this bill. The body is rich, creamy, and smooth, but also fairly heavy. This, of course, is expected of a stout. On the finish, there is a lingering sweetness that is quite savoury. Overall, this is a great beer, a must try, and one I will continually return to.

Nose: 21
Body: 21
Taste: 21.5
Finish: 21.5

Kamran: 85 pts.


Oatmeal stout is something I usually find thicker, and sweeter than a typical stout. However there were some noticeable differences, such as the beer was less creamy thick as I’m usually accustomed to and the flavor wasn’t as sweet. It was almost as if it were a more delicate silky texture to it, which was a nice feeling in the mouth.

The nose was understandably sweet from the malt, but I picked up on notes I typically detect in scotch to be faintly noticeable. The body was solid black in colour, less creamy than a Guinness opting for that more silky texture. The taste was rich and savory once the initial malt had flashed the palate. The richness of it would lead to me to assume that after one bottle of this beer, would have the same filling reaction as a couple of creamy stouts. The finish was an unobtrusive sweetness that was savory and dry.

I, like Kamran, did really enjoy this beer. It was a nice complexity for a stout that was neither too heavy or watered down. Due to it being an imported product it may seem expensive, but well worth it if you wish to treat yourself to a solid evening beer. Next Samuel Smith beer to try will be the Taddy Porter which is currently in my beer fridge.

Nose: 20
Body: 23.5
Taste: 19
Finish: 21

Tristan: 83.5 pts.


Final average: 84.25 pts.

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Fernie Brewing Company: First Trax Brown Ale

The fourth and final installment of the Fernie Brew Co. mixer pack that we tasted. The First Trax is interesting in that it claims to use eight different malts in the mix! It is a heavier beer than the other Fernies and tastes better the longer you drink it. While not overly complex, I can see this beer being more well received than some of the others in the mixer due to it’s richer flavours and full nose.

– Tristan


Having tried this one before, and enjoyed it a fair bit, I expected it to be my favourite of the mixer, and looked forward to tasting it again. While I estimated correctly that it would be my favourite, I didn’t enjoy the First Trax nearly as much this time around — simply the victim of a proper analysis.

Boasting a wide variety of malts, the First Trax Brown Ale is rich, fairly complex, and on the darker end of the spectrum. The chocolate-cocoa-toffee sweetness on the nose is quite pleasant, and certainly more appealing than the malt derivatives of the Big Caboose. On the palate, it tastes and feels like a traditional nut brown — think Cannery Nut Brown or Howe Sound Rail Ale. While it’s got a fairly robust body, it’s not nearly heavy enough to be filling, and I could, quite easily, drink several of these in a short period. The finish leaves one with a lingering chocolatey sweetness that is somewhat enjoyable, but gets tiresome.

Having done the Big Caboose Red and the First Trax Brown back to back, I have realized that a good red ale requires a certain amount of hops — and a good brown ale requires a certain amount of malts — to make it appealing. The First Trax, with a sufficient amount of malts, is simply better integrated than the under-hopped Big Caboose.

Nose: 19.5
Body: 19
Taste: 21
Finish: 18.5

Kamran: 78 pts.


While this was better than the Big Caboose Red Ale, in my opinion this beer wasn’t as impressive as the Griz Pale Ale or the Buck Wild Ale. Personal opinion I know, but I do see more people enjoying this one as its nose, body and flavours could be more in line with the majority of people.

The nose was sweet as a result of the malts used, but it also had a caramel-esque, chocolate, almond and pine smell from the varying malts. Intriguing yes, but a wee bit sweet for my liking. The body was a little surprising as the bitterness took the first swing at my taste buds when I was fully expecting it to be sweet as sugar. It was thicker than the prior beers from the mixer pack, so I’m not sure if I would recommend people buy a 6-pack to consume for a party or event unless they enjoy a filling beer. The Taste was bitter, almost like an espresso or dark roast coffee behind the malts. The finish was actually drier than expected, and of course… malty.

A little bolder in the malts, this beer has a slight complexity to it, but perhaps more hops are needed to even things out. Or I’m just knit-picking… either way it’s a good beer, but I prefer the first two of the Fernies we tried to this and the latter, red ale, in the box.

Nose: 16
Body: 16
Taste: 15
Finish: 15

Tristan: 62 pts


Final Average: 70 pts.

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