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Midnight Oil Stout - Swamp Head Brewery

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Midnight Oil Stout
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BA SCORE
87
very good

43 Reviews
THE BROS
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 43
Hads: 188
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 7.93%
Wants: 12
Gots: 21 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Swamp Head Brewery visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tpd975 on 03-08-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 43 | Hads: 188
Photo of PorterLambic
2.98/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours black as pitch with a gorgeously creamy dark tan head that dissipates slowly to a ring and island.
Smell is malt, coffee, bittersweet chocolate and some dark fruit.
Taste ashy, coffee, malt.
Watery with a medium body and lightish effervescence. Slightly warming. Not nearly as good as I had hoped. Too ashy, much like an ashtray. As this is my first from this brewery, I'll look for some different brews to try and hope this one is just not for me. (455 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.43/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler brought back to DC from Gainesville by me to share with some dude. Poured into a Swamp Head pint glass because I am capable of such a feat.

Beer is black / dark dark brown, with a thin off white / tan head of small bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is mildly sweet with some roast and some coffee, smells good.

Beer is thin and bitter in the back with ash and roast and some coffee. The great thing about this beer is the source of the coffee, locally roasted in Gainesville and it is the coffee I use in one of my homebrewed beers. The big problem with this beer is the body. If you could fill out the body with a higher finishing gravity you would get that stout feel to it. The coffee and other flavors seem a little flat and this is probably due to the lack of palate to express themselves on. (820 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
3.48/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a pitch black with brown at the edges. A light tan head after a rough pour ie, not gentle.

Smell of Black patent, that familiar stale coffee twang from acidic coffee infusion. Some sweet malt in the aroma, tar.

Taste of bitter coffee, dark roasty malts, some malt sweetness, a bit of coffee twang, some aroma hops . some licorice and the slightly dry taste I get when I drink an Oatmeal stout.

Mouthfeel has good carbonation , and a thick body. A good consistency, just in need of some more hops IMO. Overall not bad, could use some polishing.

A sample from Mullenite Thanks! (587 characters)

Photo of FLBeerGuy
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black with a thin tan head that leaves slight lacing.
Smell is overpowering coffee, hard to smell anything else.
Taste is strong coffee, a little chocolate and some hop bitterness on the way down.
Mouthfeel is on the light side for a stout with more carbonation than you might expect.
This is very drinkable if you like a strong coffee stout (strong being coffee, not alcohol). Personally, it is too strong in the coffee end to make me want to have more than one. (476 characters)

Photo of Gtreid
3.51/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Guest tap at Cigar City for Craft Beer Week. Poured into a tasting glass.

A: Pretty black, with some mahogany highlights. The pours creates a small tan head that left some webby lace.

A: Burnt coffee and malt. I would say roasted but this is beyond that. The coffee is forward and I get notes of slight chocolate, nuts, and earth.

T: Again, I'm afraid to say, burnt coffee. I just can't get past it. It's not really bad, just not what I was expecting. Some notes of light chocolate, wood, and slight char. Finishes dry but somewhat bitter from the over roasting of the malt.

M: Pretty light in the body. Nice amount of carbonation, but just a bit to watery.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is good, not great, the 5% ABV will help emensely. Overall, I am on the fence with this beer. I have had alot of coffee stouts, and this one is by far the most roasted one. Again, almost burnt. I will give it another shot at some time, but for now, it's just alright. Skal. (976 characters)

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pi on Broadway in Ocala.

A: jet black, nice frothy head that dissipated to a thin lacing
S: nice roasted nose, chocolate undertones
T: nice beer, roasted malt, oatmeal not incredibly noticeable but good balance
M: nice mouthfeel
D: good taste, could be a bit more grainy for my liking but all-in-all a decent beer (324 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

The beer is dark brown with a thin, tan head that leaves a fair amount of lacing behind. The aroma brings a light dose of roast and coffee. The flavor is decent, but lacks character and assertiveness. The feel is relatively thin, though this is but a 5% ABV stout. Overall, I wish the beer brought more coffee and roast character, both in the aroma and flavor profile. Worth a try. (422 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

32 oz. growler poured into a pint glass. Thanks to nmbr0ne for this growler!

Appearance - Very dark considering how light of a stout this is. Dark mocha head that doesn't hang around long, but leaves some lace. Pretty imposing, really.

Smell - Coffee and roasted malts. Nice coffee aroma that seems to be on par with the stout aromas. I'm glad I smell some of the stout, which doesn't seem to happen with a lot of coffee stouts.

Taste - More roasted malt-forward than the smell would indicate. Good coffee flavor throughout, but the roasted malts produce a slight chocolate flavor in the middle. The finish is all coffee, though, which is a bit of a disappointment. Bitter coffee finish is slightly detracting.

Mouthfeel - Pretty thin, which lends to drinkability, but detracts from the flavor. The stout drops off faster than the coffee does, leaving me with black coffee.

Overall - A good stout. A local bar has had this on tap before and I'd order it again. I appreciate that it isn't an investment of an evening to drink it, but it still comes through with a lot of flavor. (1,082 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler courtesy of drabmuh. Served in a fancy new Swamp Head pint glass (the one with the green print), also courtesy of drabmuh.

Pours a very dark black color with a nice mocha head. Sticks around for a bit and leaves some slight lacing. The nose brings some really strong notes of coffee. Really nice aroma off of a high quality bean. A bit of roast in the background. The flavor swaps things up, with the roast being more prominent and the coffee character fading to the background. Light chocolate there as well. The body is a bit too thin--I'd like something with some more body to bring forward that creamy texture that's always nice in coffee beers. However, the roasty finish is nice. A very nice brew. Would enjoy trying more from them. (748 characters)

Photo of Spider889
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I think this was a guest tap at Cigar City while I was visiting...

A - Black with a khaki head.

S - Very roasty and dry. Simple but nothing to fault here.

T - Roast is in the flavor as well. Some nice semi-sweet chocolate notes and a light bitterness for balance.

M/O - Nice and smooth, but I was expecting something thicker given the name. Not bad at all. (360 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A solid all-around brew that brings in strong notes of coffee and burnt cocoa while stradling the fence of creamy Oatmeal Stouts and bitter American Stouts.

The pour delivers a deep, opaque, and dark brown colored beer with an expansive brown head of large bubbles, loosely woven, and soon give way to a thin lace that decorates the top of the beer. I would have hoped for a bit more malty staying power.

A varying display of roast give the dominating impressions in the aroma. Roasted barley, coffee, roasted nuts, and soft malts are found deep in the beer. Grassy hops and twangy-tart berries give a bit of a more complexity than is usually reserved for Belgian Ales.

Flavors however are all about the roast, coffee, and charred cocoa notes. The malt roundness is religated to a dry, fully-attenuated character that lends little to the flavor of the beer. Bitterness is based on the hop acids but there's a sharp rebuttal from the roasted grains.

Big on malt up front, the beer quickly gives way to the dry roasty character of char, dry cocoa powder, and coffee grounds. The beer finishes quite dry and roasty- kinda like a Schwarzbier but with more weight and complexity, but not with the drinkability.

No doubt this is a solid American/Oatmeal Stout but because of the dry character that forbids roundness or softness, I'll give the nod to an American variety though the only hop notes are grassy ones in aroma and flavor.

Thanks again RomaniIteDomum! (1,461 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

32oz growler poured into a unlabeled snifter today, 8/14/2013. Thanks to R.J. for including this one as a local extra!

The beer pours a nice dark brown, somewhat opaque body with a short white head that dissipates quickly into a very thin collar. There are spots of lacing left on the glass as I drink it down. It's a nice looking, especially dark American-style stout. I'm impressed with how the body of this beer looks, its almost like an Imperial Stout in how dark and thick it appears to be.

Smell is very much full of unground coffee beans. I'm not sure if coffee was added, but this is a very nice combination of dark chocolate malt sweetness and the more bitter espresso & dry cocoa bean scents. It's got a very appetizing nose and I'm really enjoying it as a coffeehead.

Drinking this beer is a pleasure. It's got a nice combination of dryness along with a nice dark chocolate sweetness balanced out by some bitter, burnt coffee bean flavour. It's deep, rich and full of flavour that isn't too sweet or bitter, but is well-combined and complementary to each other. There are no off-flavours here.

The feel on this is pretty typical for American stouts. It poured and looks like a thick viscous RIS but in actuality, the body feels more medium-bodied. Not to say that its watery like Guinness as it still has a substantial body. It's an incredibly drinkable, smooth and refreshing stout. I think it's certainly fitting for the Florida weather. It's a bit dry yet sweet, with the bitterness being more of a natural coffee type rather than a hop bitterness. Aftertaste is a nice trail of espresso flavours, except this beverage is cold.

I really liked this one quite a bit. Very drinkable yet full of flavours and a especially pleasurable nose. This is a great everyday stout that's probably great for the summer and fall when you're feeling something dark, chocolatey and coffeey but don't want to open up Bourbon County. I see that this is a year-round stout, and if this beer is any indication, I think Gainesville will enjoy having Swamp Head around town! (2,069 characters)

Photo of tpd975
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed at Stoogies and Stouts and Brewers Ball.

A: Pours deep black with a small tan head.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, gas station coffee, and chocolate.

T: Pretty damn flavorful. Nice light roasted coffee, roasted malt, and milk chocolate sweetness.

M: On the thinner side of medium, smooth with a slightly bitter finish.

D: Pretty good, not my favorite coffee beer, but pretty tasty nonetheless. (413 characters)

Photo of godfathermg57
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Tall Paul's Brew House

A: Black as a stout with a healthy tan head.

S: COFFEE! that's most of what i smell. I suppose that makes sense given the name. I don't detect too much cocoa or other stout-ey smells

T: Very much like the smell with lots of coffee. Taste is not very complex but it's refreshing enough

M: Certainly not thick like the name Midnight Oil might imply. Fairly light stout body.

D: Pretty drinkable so that's a definite plus. (458 characters)

Photo of Chaney
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at a local Whole Foods off of International Drive in Orlando.

A: Poured a pitch black color (or lack of), with no light passing through this suck at all. It had a huge 2-3-4(?) finger head that clung to the glass like Spider-Man. Looks mean!

S: It had a very muted, faint smell of fresh coffee grounds, burnt oats, and chocolate. Subdued, yet effective.

T: Very coffee forward, but with a fairly smooth finish overall. Sure, I got some lingering bitterness on my palate the more I sipped, but overall this was a steady drinker. Barely enough sweetness, but I appreciated that.

M: Creamy, medium-bodied, good carbonation, and with a ridiculous amount of lacing. It had an overall slick feel to it, probably as a result of the oats.

O: If you don't like coffee, you may not like this one, but I've gotta admit that there was a helluva lot of flavor here for such a low octane brew. Me likey! (916 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really nice pour, very typical for the style with a deep dark black look to it and a nice head of maybe two inches that came up and over the top with some ease. Settling down it left a decent amount of lacing on the sides, but nothing spectacular though it did retain a good bit of the puff of tan on top. The aroma was nice, well blended mix of chocolate and roasted malts, hints of light coffee notes and a decent bit of dark fruit note carrying over. This was pretty much par for the course with the flavor. Started out very smooth with a rich and well defined chocolate note that dominated early before mellowing with a nice but of vanilla and coffee notes. Small touch of hops catching up right there at the end were enough to make it just slightly bitter, but overall it was a smooth, creamy and very session able stout. (826 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lookin' good here. Black pour, albeit a bit thin looking. Head could use more smoothness or richness. Otherwise, delicious appearance.

Ok, coffee up front aroma. Not so much coffee grounds like KBS, more like faint aroma in a Dunkin Donuts shop. Rich, and fleeting. I kinda like it. Some dark roast and dark chocolate also. Bits of grass.

Taste is more balanced between the coffee, chocolate, burnt grass, and Italian plum. Smooth texture, wondering if oats are used. Smooth, but a touch thin.

Very drinkable, could see having this with football and burgers. (562 characters)

Photo of AdamBear
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-black with a thick tan head that thins out

S-smells like creamy mocha and oatmeal. the oatmeal scent is strong

T-comes in creamy with tangy oatmeal. transitions in to a strong taste of coffee which forms a long lasting after-taste. its not too exciting, but the flavors are strong and there are no negative tastes.

M-creamy light carbonation with a watery finish. reminds me of a nitro tap mouthfeel.

O-its a decent oatmeal stout. drinks fairly light. definitely a good beer, but i expected more. this isn't a must try. (525 characters)

Photo of mullenite
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Counter pressure filled bottle.

Pours from the bottle with a 3/4 finger mocha colored head. My experience with this beer however is that it usually has a taller, longer lasting head. Never really leaves much of a lacing for me though.

Smell is really only dark roasted coffee. Being familiar with the coffee used it is near burnt. Nothing really comes through beside the coffee. My preference is for more of the malt to come through but I can dig it as is.

Taste is also almost all dark coffee. There is some malt coming through in the finish as dark chocolate which keeps the coffee flavor from being harsh.

Medium body with a very slick, creamy mouthfeel. Nice carbonation, not too much and not too little. Near perfect, just wish it was a little thicker.

Overall I like this beer a lot. I really like the coffee flavor they've gotten out of this one. (858 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Growler filled at the Swamp Head tasting room. Reviewed from notes. Poured from 32 oz. growler into a Westbrook pint glass.

A: Very dark brown to black, opaque, with a thin light tan head and essentially no visible carbonation.

S: Strong black coffee, a bit nutty and toffee, and big dark roasted malts.

T: Dark roasted malt bitterness, black coffee, some nuts, with a moderate roast bitterness at the finish. No particular hop presence discernible.

M: Relatively thin body, carbonation sensation on the low side, and moderate alcohol presence.

O: This was a good beer, and easy to drink. It has a lot of the flavors of an Imperial Stout without the alcohol. I kept feeling like it was too thin while drinking, but I think it's average for an American Stout - I just kept expecting Imperial Stout body. (807 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 oz growler poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint.

Thanks Mark for bringing this back from Florida for me!

A - Certainly no loss of carbonation from the trip is evident as Midnight Oil pours as dark as old oil, forming a dense, quiet mocha head. Firm and long-lasting, the pile rests on a beer that's darker than a black hole.

S - Deep and dark, Midnight Oil is ripe with bold roasted malts; dense dark chocolate, freshly brewed espresso - very prominent - and dry cocoa gives it a muddy, dirt nose that compliments very well. It smells incredibly bold for a standard stout, only clocking in at 5%. Toasted graham cracker and whipped milk follow in the finish.

T - Strikingly less potent than the nose leads one to believe, Midnight Oil is abounding elsewhere but here, it's pretty one-dimensional. Roasted, almost to the point of burnt, the malt doesn't offer any of the deep complexity the nose does. Bitter baker's chocolate, mocha, and cold coffee mash together in the background.

M - For how smooth and quietly this poured, I expected it to be much thicker in the feel. This beer is actually pretty medium-light in body for a stout. The roast characteristics provide a dry bitterness along the slick finish of this beer but it remains drinkable for the Florida weather.

O - While my immediate reaction is that the flavor is lacking, it's not so much the flavor's fault as it is just not a reflection of the intense, complex aroma. Chocolaty, roasted malt and coffee define this deeply dark beer. I definitely have to acknowledge that a stout much heavier or intense wouldn't remain constantly drinkable in Florida weather where as Midnight Oil would. (1,667 characters)

Photo of CampusCrew
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance: pitch black with low head rentention and lacing

smell: roasted malt, dominate coffee and subtle chooclate

taste: huge coffee upfront, bitter and dry on the back

mouthfeel: light bodied for a stout, but the ABV was low

drinkability: solid offering and my 1st Swamphead brew (288 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery. The pour was basically black, as expected given the name, The modest size tan head has very good retention and moderate lacing. The great aroma is dominated by a very appealing coffee aroma. Very little hops in the nose and mouth for an American stout, and also relatively low ABV -- being just descriptive; not pro or con on this. Some hops do come through in the finish and, more so, in the aftertaste.

O: for coffee lovers only, this stout is dominated by coffee flavor and aroma, but only mildly bitter. I particularly like the aftertaste which has a chocolate tinged coffee flavor without the unpleasant bitter/tannic component. (658 characters)

Photo of fmccormi
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Straight pour from a 32oz twist-off growler CO2-purged, filled, and plastic-wrap-sealed at the brewery yesterday. Poured into a stubby tulip-ish tumbler-ish glass, Swamp Head’s new fancy piece for the holidays this year.

Appearance (3.75): Three fingers of medium tan-colored foam easily comes off of the pour, capping a black body that passes a moderate amount of light—it looks a bit like cola, with its dark brown tint without and reddish or amber tones at the edges. Retention is moderate, taking an average amount of time to die down, leaving very little on the surface (just patches of film) along with a decent collar on the glass at the level of the beer. Just a few suds stick around here and there for a little while, leaving very little true lacing. It looks really, really excellent at first, but winds up looking average in the end.

Smell (4.25): Brewed black coffee (lighter roast), dark cocoa powder, dark wheat bread, a veeery small amount of molasses, some dark chocolate (like 80% cocoa), and some grassy, slightly piney hops. Smells dark, smells dry, smells relatively light, and smells like a good American stout on the low side of the ABV spectrum. I especially like the cocoa powder note.

Taste (4.0): The palate follows the nose in most regards, though it comes off a bit lighter and leans toward coffee rather than cocoa powder at first, but switches over to the cocoa powder full-on in the finish. Very little or no trace of milk chocolate, cream, or anything else particularly sweet or creamy—all of the smoothness and richness in the flavor is owed to a subdued bitterness: rather than coming off as particularly tannic, acidic, or astringent, the coffee, cocoa, and chocolate offer light to moderate doses of their flavors but stop short of digging in at the end. Overall this comes off as a very solid, full-flavored, accessible stout.

Mouthfeel (3.5): The body is relatively smooth, with a slightly-lighter-than-medium weight, a decent carbonation that foams up quickly and fizzles out in time. It’s a good, better than average feel but could be a bit smoother with a finer, better-integrated carbonation.

Overall (4.0): I really enjoy this stout, in the end. It’s really good on tap, and it’s nice to see an accessible—in both feel and flavor—stout come from a brewery that’s constantly coming up with interesting, off the wall takes and variations on lighter-colored styles of beer. It’s not some weird Belgian-ish beer, barrel-aged imperial stout, or DIPA. It’s just a really solid, straightforward American stout that hits the rights notes but remains accessible to those who haven’t gone headfirst into the world of dark beers (yet). And it’s sessionable. Recommended. (2,739 characters)

Photo of Swim424
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this on tap at Proof

A-Dark black. Nice Brown head. hung around for a bit.

S-smells like coffee. Maybe a little chocolate. But mostly coffee

T-Coffee again. I always say I am not a fan of coffee but the stouts are always good. A little chocolate and oatmeal but mostly just coffee. A tiny bit of hops stick out but not much. Besides the coffee you have to be really looking for the other flavors.

MF-Thick and creamy. Nice flavor and aftertaste.

O-Very good. Not high alcohol and very good to sip. Highly enjoyable beer. (531 characters)

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Midnight Oil Stout from Swamp Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.