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Brass Knuckles Oatmeal Stout - Barley Island Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brass Knuckles Oatmeal StoutBrass Knuckles Oatmeal Stout

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BA SCORE
87
very good

106 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 106
Reviews: 78
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 8
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Barley Island Brewing Company visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: zerk on 01-24-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 106 | Reviews: 78 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BigJim5021
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours inky black with a nice tan head. Settles quickly to a ring, but leaves little lacing.

The aroma is of coffee and burnt chocolate, though less aggressive than some other stouts.

The flavor is quite good. Almost like drinking a cafe au lait thanks to the oats. The dark roasted malt is nice and smooth. There is -- however -- just a bit too much acidity. It's also wicked bitter, but in a good way (like a black-ass cup of coffee).

Mouthfeel is just a tiny bit too thin for the style. Other than that, all is well. Carbonation is right where it should be. Dryness is near puckering.

Overall, Brass Knuckles is a quality oatmeal stout. It's not quite as good as Barley Island's coffee stout (Black Majic), but it's good nonetheless.

EDIT: I had a bottle left in the fridge, and I have to say that time has actually been kind to this puppy. The acidity really fades over time. I wouldn't suggest aging the beer, but when it's fresh, the acidity can be a bit much. A little time does wonders to smooth that out.

Photo of diabecktic
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:
Chocolate-colored head (~2 fingers) forms quickly, but seems to disappate fairly quickly, too; lacing is average. The beer itself seems pitch black (like most stouts), but is actually a very, very dark shade of ruby red. You can verify this by looking at it in front of a light as it is being poured.

Smell:
Roasted barley seems to be the dominant aroma, but there is distinguishable chocolate and oatmeal character. It's quite a sharp scent that has no problem piercing the nostrils. As said by someone below said, it's almost "smokey." I personally find this one to be a bit more on the hoppy side.

Taste:
Ah, here's where it gets interesting. My first sip seems to hit me with a bitter sweetness. As strange as this sounds, it's like getting a mouthful of barley and oats that turns into dark chocolate (the bitter kind). Relative to others, it's quite distinct in this regard because it's a quick hit/shift. The oatmeal character is definately present in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:
Given the style, I'm suprised that this beer is as light as it is. I suppose with respect to all beers you would say that this has medium body. With respect to stouts, I think that this one is a bit on the watery side; it just doesn't "feel" like there's much there. It's fairly smooth, but I don't know if this redeems it given the body.

Drinkability:
This brew is definately a sipper. Given the % ABV and the style, I guess you could call it a session beer. I personally find it a bit hard to drink in this respect because I don't think it's heavy enough to sip. The type of flavor is not conducive to a quick-drinker.

Summary:
I'm not sure what to think about this beer. It's not a bad oatmeal stout, but I've definately had ones that are far better. I think that this brew is a lot less "subtle" when it comes to flavor because it's a pretty distinct taste. Now, whether or not this is a good thing has yet to be determined. However, I would try this beer again in the future. I just think it's a bit too thin for the style even though the flavor is unique.

Photo of PirateUlf73
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Interesting artwork on the label. This was yet another member of my latest mix-a-six. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Very dark and opaque with a chocolate brown head, which didn't last long.

S: Fantastic nose. Roasted chocolate and almost smoky malt aromas. Oatmeal manages to sneak in as well, but is not overly pronounced. Very nice.

T: Roasted malt flavors with a pinch of chocolate. Sweet, but not overpowering. Nice and subtle. Flavors are somehow not as blended as the nose night suggest. Oatmeal does not shine in the taste...

M: ...but rather helps to smooth out the texture. Medium-bodied. A bit lighter in the mouth than I might have liked. Just enough carbonation to satisfy. Slight roasted malt and chocolate in the aftertaste.

D: Very drinkable. Not too heavy. Alcohol level makes this one very sessionable.

While definitely not the best Oatmeal Stout I've ever had (not even in the top 10), it was still very much worth the try. The nose was to die for, but I tend to like mine with a heavier mouthfeel and with the malts and oatmeal more smoothly blended. However, if Barley Island's goal was to make a mildly interesting, albeit lighter-bodied Oatmeal Stout, then Mission: Accomplished, I suppose. An interesting venture, and one that I may feel inclined to have again. We'll see...

Photo of bluejacket74
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle. Served in a mug, the beer pours dark brown/black with an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells like roasted malt, coffee, chocoloate and oatmeal. The taste is similar to the aroma, coffee comes out strongest in the taste but there's also a charred/burnt malt taste noticable. Nice bitter coffee finish, too. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and has good carbonation. Drinkability is very good, it's smooth and with the low ABV I could easily have this as a session beer. I think this is pretty good, I'll definitely have to buy this again the next time I see it.

Photo of hopdog
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle acquired in trade atpayne (thanks!).

Opened to a loud Psst. This one poured all head. Eventually settled into a dark black with red edges. Aromas of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and some oatmeal. Nice aromas. Tastes of bitter coffee, with light chocolate and roasted malts. As expected with the pour, the body was on the over carbonated side.

Notes from 4/9/06

Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing back a bottle for me from Indiana!

Pours black with a thin light brown head that slowly descends to a wide patch. Some dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of chocolate, lightly roasted coffee, and soft earthy notes.

The taste is very chocolaty, with roasted coffee and some earthy bitterness blended in. Finishes with a balanced sweetness.

It has a smooth medium-to-full body with fairly mild carbonation. The texture is pretty creamy and almost velvety.

Pretty straight-forward with all its chocolate character, though well-balanced with sweet and bitter (leaning towards the former). The chocolate hangs on through a long finish. A nice dessert stout.

Photo of Gehrig
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick black body where light goes to die supports a finger of brown sugar froth. Thick rings of lacing adorn the Yankees pint glass; excellent look. Solid nose, full of chocolate and some coffee malt, molasses, and hints of berry. The berry comes forth more in the taste than the smell, as do the molasses and berry flavors. What detracts from a higher score is the lack of a take-charge flavor, something to instill a particular character for this beer. There is no shortage of flavor or character, and it's quite good. I would infuse more chocolate and caramel malt to complement the rest and add a slightly more viscous texture, though the mouthfeel does not suffer in the slightest with Brass Knuckles. it's creamy, well carbonated, a bit sticky, very good.

Really good oatmeal stout, not the biggest and boldest, but solid, a bit complicated even if the complication would use more attention, and easy to consume. Well worth the purchase, the best I've had from Barley Island.

Photo of orangemoustache
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours midnight black with thick a brown head that is multi colored with light and dark changes,the cap is much lighter than the sides of this mushroom looking head that is billowing out of my mug.The nose is packed full of chocolate like opening a varaity box of Godiva.The taste is pretty awesome,starts off with dark roasted malts,and I mean Dark!Bitter chocolate with a hint of vinilla sweetness lightens up the burnt soul of this gritty Stout.The body is heavy and charcoal like and below average carbonation keeps the focus on flavor!This is a well done Oatmeal stout,wish I had another round.

Photo of tayner
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, thank you leftmindedrighty.

black with nice khaki head that settled to a ring which laced nicely.

smell is dark roasted malt, coffee, bitter chocolate.

Taste followed smell only with the coffee the dominant feature followed by roasted/burnt malt and bitter chocolate. there is a pretty decent balance of these three flavors however.

Thin mouthfeel for a stout, probably due to the low abv and lack of fermented sugars in it, but still fairly creamy... but on the same token, it makes it highly drinkable and even sessionable for a stout, so it is give and take.

Wouldnt hunt this one down, but its a decent oatmeal stout i wouldnt turn my nose up at either.

Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared with Tomthompson98. The aroma is very roasted coffee. Good head and lace. Sweetish, with lots of coffee and chocolate and an average mouthfeel. Just too sweet, though lower ABV is appreciated. Happy with carbonation though it is above average.

Photo of JDV
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Tytoanderso for the this bottle!
Pours a thick, oily black with a nice big tan head. Smell is roasty dark malt, cream, and faint sweetness. Touch too thin in the bodied for a stout, but the flavor is nice, and roasty. Not burnt or overly done, and very drinkable. Nice beer.

Photo of SMark
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 52° from a 12 ounce bottle. There was no date information on the bottle. There was approximately one finger of tan head that displayed lacing. The beer was a dark brown almost black color.

Roasted malt was sensed while looking for color and clarity. The dark roast was verified with a purposeful whiff which also displayed a hop fragrance.

The taste was smooth and creamy with a slight bitterness. The dark roasted malt came across with a little coffee.

Roasted malt filled the mouth with every breath. A slight bitterness was attributable to the hops and was very complimentary.

Glad to see Barley Island still producing after my visit there several years ago which was very enjoyable. Don't remember if I had this on tap but it is very acceptable from the bottle.

Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A strong pour gets only one finger of milk chocolate colored foamy head. Body is a thick ink black abyss that lets no light thru. Nose has a even roasty malt that is deep and slightly burnt, includes some coffee tones also. As I take first sip I automaticly think of how sessionable this stout is. Rich and toasted oats quickly balance the burnt malts and coffee like feel. Some dark fruit notes also exist on the back of the palate. A dark toffee like mouthfeel is created with the clinging blackness. This beers finish is a brooding but silky bitterfeel. A lovely drinkable stout from a very humble Indiana brewery.

Photo of belgaridub
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like a dark stout, opaque, and has a dark beige head. Pretty standard looking.

There isn't a lot of smell jumping out at me, but when I stick my nose up close to it I get some really earthy, roasted smells.

Taste is highly roasted, again some earthy and bordering on rotten smells. A roasted coffee flavor dominates.

Mouthfeel is really smooth and the beer is very drinkable. It is more of a medium-bodied beer and is pretty drinkable, especially with its low alcohol content.

Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color iwth a foamy tan head that sticks like crazy but doesn't leave much lace

Smell: Rich roasty chocolate aroma with a hint of mint and coffee

Taste: Opens with a roasty dark chocolate flavor that grows in carob bitterness by mid-palate; after the swallow, hints of coffee appear

Mouthfeel: Way too much carbonation gets in the way of the mouthfeel which I guess is medium to full

Drinkability: Very nice flavors by marred by the overcarbonation (may just be a problem with this batch as not many others seem to have raised this issue)

Photo of BeerTruth
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to leftmindedrighty for this one.

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a complete black with a full two finger tan colored head that dies down to a thin layer of bubbles. Stickiness remains on the sides throughout. Smell is pretty smokey for an Oatmeal Stout. Charred wood aroma with a mild sweet toasted oat. Dark chocolates and a slight caramel malt on the nose as well. Taste is more of that smokey flavor. Roasted barley and burnt chocolate malt with a subtle sugared oat flavor. I could use a bit more sweetness on the tongue, the smokiness is a bit much for me. Smooth medium bodied feel with a thick water-like texture. Carbonation is mild, but present. Good drinking beer if you can get past the smokiness. I would love to get my hands on their Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to SPLITGRIN for this one.

Pours from the 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Emerges dark and somewhat viscous, with a cocoa powder colored head. Nice size, about one finger. Small amount of lacing. The slightest dark ruby highlights are visible at the bottom of the glass as I raise toward the computer light. And I mean SLIGHTEST. Basically opaque.

Aroma is filled with chocolate. Burnt grains and burnt wheat toast. The slightest bit of fruitiness.

Lots of coffee and chocolate in the flavor. Very smooth and velvety. However, the mouthfeel is on the lighter side. This was the case with the java stout from this same brewer. Another good stout. This brewer seems to put out some good brews. Highly recommended.

Photo of JamesS
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An excellent oatmeal stout. Pours a nice dark color with decent head, but almost no lacing. Excellent scent, a great combination of burnt grain/coffee with the slight sweetness of oatmeal. Same for the taste, a great combination of flavors that enhance the other srather than detract from each other. By far my favorite Barley Island brew to date.

Photo of baos
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into glass.

A: Dark dark with one finger head that disappears.

S: Scorched caramel. Dark chocolate.

T: Coffee and Chocolate with some hop bitterness.

M: Nice and medium bodied.

D. Not as balanced and drinkable of some of the other oatmeal stouts I've tried, but good nonetheless. Could end a little less bitter.

Photo of happygnome
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: pours a dark black black body with opaque hues and an inch worth of head that doesnt dissapear too fast but leaves plenty of reamy lacing around the dge of the glass
s: hmm im smelling roasted chocolate malts, not overly sweet which i really like. very slight bitter hop aroma but not strong enough to really tell
t: nice roasted chocolate malt flavor with hints of prune
m: medium to full bodied beer with good amount of carbonation

overall, i really enjoyed hit brew and will be getting another

Photo of KI9A
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm trying to get into stouts. Only problem is, I hate coffee.

I tried this. Someone told me to break into stouts via an oatmeal, not a dry stout. So far, so good. I like it!

Pours perfect black, with 2 finger creamy head. Smells of toffee, chocolate, and wonderful roasted malt. Nice.

Tastes of toffee, chocolate, deep roasted malt & to my surprise, not much a coffee note. It's there, but blocked by the sweetness.

I found my favorite oatmeal stout as of now, downed 2 bottles of it, and really enjoyed every drop. Nicely done guys!

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Barley Island Brass Knuckles Tavern Style Oatmeal Stout. Noblesville, Indiana.
"This brazen, malty dark ale is a real sock in the kisser. But with a creamy touch of oatmeal, it's as soft as velvet."
We'll see.

Solid black as it sits in the glass, under a sturdy 1/2" of smooth cocoa-tan foam.

Fierce aromatics, big, fat roasty nose, nice blend of choclate and coffee. Some rich caramel and toffee in there somewhere, too. Lovely.

Taste: smooth and oaty.Velvety, yes. Creamy. Full-bodied, rich,

Don't get the name, really. "A sock in the kisser?" How so? Since when were oatmeal stouts dangerous? Well, whatever.
Long, chocolatey finish. Massive malt, deep and delicious.

It's a top notch stout. Much recommended.

Photo of gmfessen
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is coal black with a two-finger, creamy looking brown-tan head. The smell is excellent; roasted barley, chocolate and coffee and perhaps a hint of vanilla. Unfortunately, the taste isn't nearly as enjoyable as the nose. The beer is pretty well hopped, which I'm usually a big fan of... however in this case it takes away from the chocolate and roasted notes ability to shine through. The finish isn't bad, but the initial hoppiness could be subdued a little. Although as I drink more of the beer, the hops don't seem to bother me so much and actually make the beer more drinkable than it otherwise probably would be. The mouthfeel is "velvety" and full bodied with minimal carbonation. Overall, a good Oatmeal Stout - one worth trying.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic)

A- This beer has an opaque black body with a brown rocky head reminiscent of a lumpy oatmeal cookie. There are tiny bubbles stuck to the glass but when they pop off they disappear. The head last a good while.

S- There are roasted chocolate malt with a slight tart hint and some lighter roasted malt notes.

T- The big taste of dark chocolate malt and black malt with a light black malt bitterness which turns to tartness when it warms. There is a light chalk note in the malt with a light hint of prune and cola.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a clean finish with no alcohol heat.

D- This beer has some nice flavor with some good malt flavor but it is a bit light for a stout.

Photo of pmcadamis
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Motor oil black with a thick finger of brown foam on top. The head looks like creamy chocolate milk, and I'm temped to eat it with a spoon. A bit of brown lace is left on the glass, and the head eventually settles at a tight cap, but swirling brings the one finger right back. This looks like the archetypal stout.

S - Milk and dark chocolate are there in equal proportions, along with some rootbeer and roasted grains. Chocolate laced coffee with plenty of cream. Cocoa Puffs cereal drenched in whole milk or Half and Half. This is really nice; it's not extremely complex, but it's exactly what it's supposed to be. I don't think a stout could look any more beautiful than this one does sitting in my snifter.

T - Burnt rubber with some phenolic medicinal flavors that are a bit startling at first given the rich chocolate and coffee nose. Earthy, smoky, and almost peaty. Reminds me of the enriched soil that you find in a potted plant...the kind of dirt with little white specks in it. I don't quite know if I like this, but it's very unique and earthy. It sure isn't lacking in complexity, but the flavors seem a bit odd and mushroomy.

M - Medium to full bodied with a gritty, earthy character. Very mild carbonation with some mellow graininess. Finishes pretty much neutral with a bitter and mushroomy aftertaste. For some reason, this just keeps reminding me of black, loamy, wet earth.

D - An oddball, that's for sure. I like it, but it seems a bit of kilter and weird. I do like the dirty earth tones, but it wouldn't be something that I'd have two or three of when there are much better Oatmeals out there (and much better Barley Island brews for that matter).

Brass Knuckles Oatmeal Stout from Barley Island Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.