Steel Cut Oatmeal Stout
1 Pint, $3.75, 5.8% ABV
Purchased at Cambridge House Brew Pub, Granby
I want to thank the good folks at CHB and especially their new head brewer for slowing down production. With a few weeks between new releases coupled with the fact that they are starting to (finally) repeat beers I’ve already reviewed, I have been able to take a break from Granby. This is especially good news with all of the other local breweries pumping out seasonals, not to mention the new breweries coming on line in the fall of 2013.
This fall has thus far been beautiful here in southern New England, so I was happy to head up to CHB after work and enjoy this stalwart “winter’s comin’!” stout out on their sunny patio.
A “GABF” recipe this year! Chocolatey, roasty and creamy. A mouthful of goodness.
While this description is spot on, I still kind of hate it. I’m one of those people who is so turned off by close up viewing and/or overly-descriptive words describing the act of eating and drinking, that I sometimes must leave the room of the guilty party.
“Creamy mouthful of goodness” just sounds gross to me. Even if this stellar stout was indeed, a “creamy mouthful of goodness.” Listen, I know I’m the weird one here – especially since I don’t blink an eye at eating half eaten food from my children’s plates.
Although I never finish Damian’s oatmeal… but that’s because cold oatmeal is inedible. Unless you’re one of my sons.
Anyway, I’ve had plenty of oatmeal stouts in my day, but can’t think of any “steel cut” oatmeal oatmeal stouts. And y’know… I’m a huge fan of Bob’s Red Mill products and have a cupboard full of several different items from them – including Scottish Oatmeal and Steal-cut Oats.”
But what the heck’s the difference? I had no idea, but it’s time we learn, with an assist from Bob’s Red Mill themselves:
There are actually several forms in which you can buy and cook and eat your oats. The “purest” form are the groats. The groat is the de-hulled oat grain. Quite simply, the most intact form of the grain available in the market. You use these things in, say, pilafs and soups. Groats are total hippie fare.
The most common form of oats, rolled oats are made from oat groats that have been steamed to allow them to pass through the roller mills without cracking and breaking. Rolled oats are available in many different varieties, each of which refers to the thickness of the flake and cooking time required. The smallest and thinnest oat product is Instant, followed by Quick Cooking, Regular (Old Fashioned) and Extra Thick.
Instant oats have also been pre-cooked to make them truly instant. Just add hot water and you’ll have oatmeal. Boom. (And then many companies throw in sugars and stuff, to make them taste good.)
Then we have the steel-cut stuff.
Steel Cut= Pinhead= Irish Oats. Steel cut oats are made from whole oat groats that have been chopped into two or three pieces, making for a much chewier cereal. They are almost exclusively used for breakfast, as they do not soften very well in baking applications. (If you’re wondering, these are the oats used in the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship – which is a real thing – that Bob’s Red Mill has won.)
More? Oh yeah – the BEST kind: Scottish oats.
Scottish oats are ground on stone mills from whole oat groats. They are not rolled, they are not cut, they are ground. The texture of Scottish oatmeal is fairly fine, though more coarsely ground than flour. In the United Kingdom, this is what they imagine when you say oatmeal. In the United States, this is what we imagine when we use the term porridge. It’s creamy, thick and almost instant when combined with boiling water. This is what people would have made hundreds of years ago, before modern roller mills were invented.
Scottish oats are wonderful for baking, as they are truly a more coarsely ground flour- like cornmeal. Oatmeal, cornmeal, flaxseed meal- get it? Meal is the next grind up from flour and below farina.
And by the way, next time you have some heart and liver and suet lying around and you have a hankering for haggis, use steel-cut oats. You’ll get a truer Scottish texture that way.
The beer was delicious. Definitely smooth and rich and flavorful, though lets be honest: the use of “steel cut” in the name was probably more marketing than anything else. Though I bet cleaning out the tanks afterwards might have been easier.
Overall Rating: A
Rating vs. Similar style: A