Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Black Widow Oatmeal Stout - Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Widow Oatmeal StoutBlack Widow Oatmeal Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

65 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 65
Hads: 86
Avg: 3.65
pDev: 20.27%
Wants: 3
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: packetknife on 04-10-2002

The Biter is a smooth malty oatmeal stout balanced by flavors of roasted barley with chocolate malt. Gentle bittering but generous aroma is given by the popular English hop, East Kent Golding.

This gentle stout will be attractive to anyone who likes a full-flavored beer, including hard-core connoisseurs of stout.

The image was developed to symbolize the alluring, if not sinister character of the Black Widow Stout!
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 65 | Hads: 86
Photo of Ozzylizard
3.69/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Undated bottle at 42 degrees into snifter
From a trade with @JayWhitson
Aroma of toasted malt
Head small (< two cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy/fizzy, rapidly diminishing to three mm ring and layer with rocks
Lacing fair – some arcs of tiny bubbles
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor of burnt malt, fizzy; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, fizzy

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 3.5, Palate 3.5, Overall 3.75

 428 characters

Photo of Libeertarian
4.22/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

It pours a thick, opaque, dark brown, topped with a massive, sturdy tan head with larger bubbles for the most part, but finer where it sticks out over the top of the glass. Excellent retention. Looks like a root beer float. Smells mainly of sweet chocolate, with molasses and blueberries harder to pick out. A bit roasty and meaty as well. First few sips are all bubbles. These taste bitter, but also like the outer layer of a roasted pork loin or the like. The beer itself is incredibly metallic-tart throughout, but easily balanced out as it fizzes up, bringing forth the smoke and roast aspects, be it meat or tobacco or coffee, not so much chocolate as one might assume going by the aromas. The finish is all cigar smoke. Full bodied, viscous, fairly acidic, teeth-coating, with lots of suds, and a stiff swallow. A great Montana take on the Oatmeal Stout. I prefer it to the Shakespeare Rogue, I think, but that's truly a matter of taste. The Black Widow is 'harsher' on the palate, so to speak.

 1,000 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this one with a big steak at Jake's in Billings. It poured a real dark brown color. No light passing through at all, and a small tan head on top. It has a distinctly smokey nose, wood roasted malt seems to be the aroma im getting, but there is also some bitter bakers chocolate going on. The flavor is far less smokey than the nose, just more of a heavy roast here. The bitterness of the finish is not from hops, but rather burnt malt and that unsweetened cocoa. The mouthfeel is lovely. A nice creamy thick body and just enough carbonation. It feels silky, and might be even further served in that direction by a nitro tap. This was a good beer overall. Maybe a little too filling to slam a lot of them, but one was a treat.

 733 characters

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.67/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: jet black, poured with frothy dark brown head that dissipated pretty quickly
S: full-bodied, deep roasted malt
T: good roasted malt, chocolate, creamy
M: creamy and well-balanced, good for 5.9% but I'd love to try this as a RIS
O: good and well-made

 252 characters

Photo of schatzicat
3.51/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

gave this a look see and decided to buy it
the appearance is dark with a light red hue when held to light.
has a half finger head that dissapates to a small head with a light lingering lace. the smell is of a earthy and not overwhelming light coffee. the taste is caramel and creamy chocolate. the coffee is there too. light hoppy taste and more malt.has a light funky aftertaste..cant notice the oats. mouthfeel is again creamy moderate carbonation. this is a above average stout and recommend to anyone who likes stouts...good job on this one!

 545 characters

Photo of uwmgdman
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-review after bad bottle back in '07.

The beer pours black, very slight ruby glow when held to a light. A thin tan head formed upon pouring and diminished to a skim. The nose is moderate-high roast, slightly ashy. The flavor is high roasted malt, with hints of chocolate and bittersweetness. Sufficient, yet appropriately low hop bitterness and dry finish round the beer out nicely. The carbonation is moderate with a medium-full body and smooth mouthfeel. Overall a solid OS, could drink a number.

 501 characters

Photo of zhanson88
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pitch black as expected from an oatmeal stout, slight amount of tight tan head, reduces to almost no lacing.

Smell: Dark roasted malts, a bit of coffee and chocolate. Nothing too groundbreaking.

Taste: Dark malts mostly, coffee and chocolate in lighter amounts. Decent but not great.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and fairly smooth. The oats in this definitely help the feel out, even though they didn't impart a lot of flavor to this beer.

Drinkability: This beer is fairly drinkable, I didn't regret ordering it. There just isn't enough flavor to justify getting more than one.

 590 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
3.37/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a pint glass on 5/23/10 at Mackenzie River Pizza in Billings, MT

A - Dark brown; mostly looks black. Poured a thin head leaving only a skim. Minimal retention & lace.

S - Smooth, roasted malts aroma of coffee, chocolate & oatmeal.

T - Tastes decent; roasted dark malts & some coffee. Rather dry with some hop bite. Mild hints of baker's chocolate.

M - Full bodied. Carbonation leaning toward vigorous - too much for my preference. Roasted residual on the finish.

D - Reasonably tasty oatmeal stout. It's solid enough but a few tweaks would do it well.

 569 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.64/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic. "keep refrigerated", no date or info.

A - A loud, tall pour doesn't do this beer any favors. The head is low and retained poorly leaving only a thin film behind. The vigorous swirl coaxes some tan froth out. Black Widow is almost black with slivers of clear brown-amber around the edges.

S - Black Widow's aroma is void of any hints of spider like the label suggests (whew). What it does have however, is a rich roasted malt nose with a good depth to it. Cocoa and molasses hints with a nice oat presence. At first, an now on the swirl, the nose is pretty solid but after sitting, Black Widow gets this old, musty smell. It's not entirely off-putting since it's relatively low, it's just a nuisance. Low hop presence is slight grassy and lingers in the background. Very roasted nose overall.

T - Heavily roasted flavor is prominent with classic backing notes of coffee, cocoa, and molasses. Not a lot of the oats come out in the flavor as much as the mouthfeel. The roasted bitter finish balances pretty nicely with at thin backing of hop presence. The flavor has a bit of depth to it but lacks any real distinctiveness.

M - This beer is surprisingly thin in the texture which is too bad. I'd really call this medium-bodied as there is plenty of carbonation for a crisp, lighter feel on the finish. The oats do smooth the texture of the beer out though. A lingering dusty dryness and roasted bitterness finish it out. This could really be brought up to be thicket and more substantial here.

D - While Black Widow is well-balanced for drinkability, it could help in other areas to make it a better beer all-around. It's just lacking a distinct spark of something. It doesn't stand out in a community of malt-bomb-loving beer drinkers.

 1,781 characters

Photo of GeezLynn
3.34/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Black, with a little ruby peaking out. Crowned with a huge, well-retained tan head. Very nice appearance.

Musty oats with a little chocolate malt and something similar to licorice (who knows? maybe the "hint of spider" as the label says).

A little chocolate flavor, and an unexpected sourness which is initially unwelcome, but eventually brings out a little dark fruit quality in the beer (initially, I was thinking I got a back bottle until I read previous reviews all mentioning the sour flavor). There's also sort of a stale bread quality along with a residual bitterness.

Mouthfeel needs work, especially given this is an OATMEAL stout. Thin and over-carbonated in the soda manner.

Through the first half of this beer, the review was shaping up to be pretty harsh, but it improved considerably as the beer warmed and as the taste buds acclimated to the sour flavor. Even the texture seemed a little fuller (still not good). Eventually I actually started liking this. Let her sit out and get warm - she's got carbonation to spare and the flavor will improve noticeably.

 1,078 characters

Photo of SykDoc
3.57/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle received in trade from Opethsprite, much thanks. Poured into a snifter. It pours deep brown and is black and opaque when held to the light. A 1/4 inch tan head forms and reduces to a nice lacing.

The aroma is quite good with notes of coffee and dark chocolate, as well as an earthier oatmeal component and some grassy notes.

The taste included a sour/acidity portion. Oatmeal and bitter chocolate can be pulled from it, as well as some caramel sweetness that is hard to fully grasp.

The mouthfeel is light/medium bodied, and it seems quite thin to me. There is a moderate level of carbonation and it adds an unusual crispness to the flavor and sour components.

Overall, this is an okay beer to drink. The sourness mixed with the oatmeal stout components make it interesting but it seems like there are areas for significant improvement. I would try it again but will not search it out.

 911 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
2.92/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown, near black. Very little head and what is there dissappears in relatively short order. Smells somewhat creamy, lightly roasty, but with a slight sourness from the grain. Relatively thin, and not nearly silky enough for the style. Quite sour from grain, too much so. This quite distracts from the other elements of the beer. Its drinkable, but not all that enjoyable.

 383 characters

Photo of demcorhip
2.82/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Almost opaque black bodied brew. The slightest head formed on the pour then quickly left. No collar. Very mildly and finely carbonated.

Mild roasted aroma, creamy malts with a hint of oatmeal, and a mild hazelnut bread aroma greets my nose. Faint leafy earthness in the back end.

Pronounced lactic sourness, some fruity esters, cherry or perhaps blackberry. Very mild roastiness and hints of oatmeal and creamy nuts. Mildly floral earthiness in the finish.

Thin and lacking. Needs more backbone and more roasted qualities. Not much more to say, this is quite underwhelming for an oatmeal stout.

It is drinkable, and could almost pass as a brown ale vs a stout due to the lack of body and roast. Glad i got to try this and will leave it at that.

 748 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this brew.

Pours a dark brown/black color, nice carbonation, little fizzy tan head, some sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, slight tangy/sourness, slight roastyness, toffee, and caramel. The taste is malty, some sourness going on, slight roast, toffee/caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, quite a different Oatmeal Stout, glad to have had a chance to try it, Thanks Bill.

 409 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased locally.

It pours from 12oz bottle a very dark brown with reddish hues and has a 1 finger head of tannish foam with some lacing.

The smell is of roasted malt, some chocolate, and some caramel.

The taste has roasted malt up front followed by notes of chocolate and some citrus. Hmm...I don't think the citrus is a welcome addition for me in this OS. Things were tasting pretty good until that "sourness" from the citrus hit my taste buds. Still, it's not bad. It finishes with a roasted malt bitterness, it has a medium mouthfeel, and the carbonation is medium. I'm still shaking my head over that weird sourness that *does" mellow down a bit further into the session.

 681 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz brought home from Montana in the fall and kept in the basement cooler. shared with my brother.. mine from a shaker pint.

Very nice lite tan head with spiderweb lacing.. very dark brown brew with only the slightest hints of red when held to a light.

Aroma is spot-on.. lite roased barley and dark roasted malts and chocolate overtones... even smells creamy.

lite/medium body despite a nice creamy finish.. roasted grains and slight malt sweetness and an underlying "acidic"/"sour" flavor .. reminds me of my homebrews where I've used a little bit of acidulated malts.. Sorta tastes off.

I know that this is an "aged" version of this brew, but I have notes dating back 3 years and all have "sour" flavors. If Black Widow had a little bit more body and could pinpoint and get rid of the slight off flavor then this would be a very nice brew.

 847 characters

Photo of mojopilot
1.99/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I was given a bottle of this beer from a friend of mine, I don't know how old it is or anything about it really. it pours nice and dark, with almost no head.

On to the taste! Someone else said they had a bottle they thought was mishandled and was very sour. I too have a very sour beer, I would say the sourness is right up there with a Flanders Red. I love Flanders Reds, and I like stouts too. I also love lobster and popcorn, but I'm not going to mix the two together. I don't know if every bottle is like this, so I don't want to be too hard on this beer but I have to say this is in the top 5 worst beers I've ever had.

 626 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.25/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

"Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive."

--Sir Walter Scott

Opaque ebony with a wide swath of rust orange along the bottom edge of the glass. The sorrel colored cap looks good atop the beer. Its upper surface is nice and bubbly, leaving similar looking lace when it eventually begins to deflate.

The nose is right on the money as well. Are we sure this beer was brewed by Yellowstone Valley? Each deep inhale brings swirling aromas of milk chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar and maybe even butterscotch. There's also a mild undercurrent of coffee, but the others easily overpower and subdue it.

I was hoping against hope that Black Widow would taste as good as it smells. I wasn't very confident, though, because I've had (and haven't liked) two other beers from these guys in the past few weeks. If the smell score could just as easily be the next highest, the taste score could just as easily be the next lowest.

The beer's major faults are that it's too sour and is too light in the mouth. I'm not sure why I can't appreciate the first of those in the nose, but I can't. The flavor profile consists of melted chocolate that has been thinned with a considerable amount of lemon juice. There's also a bit of lactic tartness, as if an ounce or two of sour milk was added. Just enough roasted barley character remains for it to (barely) cling to average status.

The mouthfeel is a disappointment. It's probably okay for a porter, but even then it barely stays within the lower range of acceptable. I wonder if age has something to do with what might be called body decomposition. With no dating, it's hard to know for sure.

If only BWOS tasted as good as it smells, it would be Yellowstone Valley's best beer by a wide margin (of course I haven't had them all yet). The name and the colorful, cartoony label are great, but don't be deceived by this Black Widow. It really isn't very good beer and didn't come close to ensnaring me in its web.

 1,990 characters

Photo of rpheld
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a six-pack of 12 oz. bottles purchased in Bismarck, ND.

A: Pours a dark brown- thick black with a creamy two-finger head.
S: Smells sweet, with chocolate and burnt scents.
T: Has a creamy chocolate flavor, silky oatmeal, burnt aftertaste
M: creamy and silky, a very drinkable stout
D: Pretty good stout, I'd recommend trying it if you can get close enought to Billings, MT to get it.

 395 characters

Photo of terrabyte
2.55/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark black with a large, frothy, light-tan head.

The aroma is like sweet & dark molasses laced with chocolate.

Tastes like fizzy coffee and chocolate, although that could be my imagination. Not very good due to the overcarbonation. Whatever smells I picked up from the aroma are pretty much washed out with a tonic water taste.

Mouthful is a bit like seltzer. Something I'm really seeing a lot in anything bordering on milk stouts lately. I'm assuming this is a bottling error, and a long running one from other reviews. Hopefully if they serve this on tap anywhere, the customers are getting the taste the brewers hoped for.

Drinkability is below average. It looks like beer, smells like beer, but tastes like overly carbonated water.

 756 characters

Photo of woodychandler
2.39/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This was brought to me with a light, deep-tan head that actually maintained good retention. I noted a slightly chocolaty nose. The mouthfeel was thin to medium with a light chocolate taste in the mouth. The finish had a slight chocolate aspect to it. This was a good porter, but a lousy oatmeal stout.

 301 characters

Photo of snilsen13
3.07/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

a - deep brown with yellow hue. head was faintly brown, but it's gone now.

s - typical chocolate coffee aroma plus some smokiness

t - mild sweetness followed by noticable carbonation sting and accompanying citrus flavors, grapefruit. finishes with a peculiar blend of bitter chocolate and tart fruit.

m - very light for a stout, has some carb sting.

d - there is a really unpleasent aftertaste, like orange peel rind, that I can't shake...

overall - strange brew, reminds me of orange chocolate. some people will probalably really like this, but this isn't a chocolate dipped strawberry, so I'm just not sure. thanks to loren01 for the beer

 656 characters

Photo of nlmartin
1.69/5  rDev -53.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer was served in a pub glass.

Appearance: The poured black with a ruby opaqueness to light. The beer was pretty flat and didnt have a head.

Smell: This was the highlight of this beer. The beer has a pretty good roasted coffee malty smell. The beer has a brief splash of currants.

Taste: Yuck! This beer is an unending drink of bitter astringent chemical yuck.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a light body with no carbonation. The taste was just straight bitter chemical harshness. The beer really wasnt drinkable in any fashion. I am just not desperate enough for a beer to finish it. Down the drain this one goes. Oh well, better luck next beer.

 673 characters

Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Originally reviewed May 11, 2005. 12 Oz Bottle. Slightly transparent dark black currant pour, with ruby brown edges. Topped with fizzly thin ivory head, that’s fading fast. Aroma of sweet plum, malt and roasted coffee and a savory pork port sauce. Very rich and strong roasted coffee flavor. Favorly deep, yet even. It’s a meal in my mouth. Well carbonated and a bit of brandy alcohol to round and soften the edges. Palate is salty and a little watery.

 454 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
2.13/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12oz. bottle thanks to jhammerly

Pours a rich black with a creamy tan head thatthins. Nice lacing on the glass.

Light aroma of roasted malts with some nice caramel tones.

Wow, this beer is sour city. Some roastedness comes through, but dominted by an unpleasant sour taste. I can only assume that this beer is quite old as no date is on the bottle.

Light body, plenty of carbonation.

I could probably choke it down if I wanted to. However, the drain got the best part of this beer.

 496 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Black Widow Oatmeal Stout from Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.