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C.O.B. (Coffee Oatmeal Brown) | Free Will Brewing Co.

very good
36 Reviews
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C.O.B. (Coffee Oatmeal Brown)C.O.B. (Coffee Oatmeal Brown)

Brewed by:
Free Will Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This unique and complex seasonal ale is free will’s best-selling seasonal. This very strong brown ale has a delicious malty backbone with notes of caramel, brown sugar and graham cracker. Aged on a unique and complex bean that provides additional peppery and molasses like flavors in addition to the classic coffee presence in the aroma and on the palate.

Added by Flounder57 on 11-24-2012

User Reviews
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Reviews: 36 | Ratings: 252
Photo of smcolw
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Thick foamy head that is slow to recede. Two rings of lace form after the first two sips. Lattice work in between. Cloudy, brown color to the liquid.

I smell cigarette ash first and then coffee second. Neither smell is attractive to me but I can appreciate what they are going for here.

Ash upfront followed quickly by a black coffee flavor. Again, not what I would ever seek out. Needless to say, this is not your typical brown ale so I'll give points for creativity and bravery. Full bodied for the style with an appropriate carbonation level.

Overall, I resist all things coffee so my review should be evaluated through that lens. The bartender said he loved this beer, but it's not for me.

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Photo of lastmango
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a ruby medium brown color with a one finger tan head that dissipated to nothing. Moderate lacing. Aroma is like a coffee shake. Taste is sweet malt, coffee and chocolate. The coffee is more pronounced than in other brews that have had. Moderate body and carbonation.

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Photo of Gmann
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a translucent brown color with a short khaki colored head.

The aroma is of light sweet coffee, perhaps some hazelnut. Milk chocolate and caramel notes. Nice inviting aroma.

Big coffee flavor. Nice moderate roast with notes of kahlua. Milk chocolate and caramel provide a tootsie roll flavor. Some woody and tea notes from the malt.

Light to moderate feel with active carbonation. Sweet on the palate, perhaps a touch cloying. Drying towards the finish.

A good coffee brown. The tootsie roll/kahlua flavor wears on me a bit.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.44/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz.

Pours a hazy medium brown, light reddish tint, with an off-white lacing for a head that dissipates to nothing. Very much like a light roast coffee.

Smells of roasted coffee and brown sugar over bready malt. The coffee is the most prominent part.

Tastes of roasted coffee, toasted bread, oatmeal, and a dry nutty finish. Mild hop aftertaste.

Medium body with stinging carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Very tasty beer, excellent flavor. Probably the best coffee flavored beer I've had. Not a perfect beer, but very enjoyable and worth seeking out.

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Photo of muchos
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - Brown with a copper lining and a big white head reducing quickly.
S - Not much out of the fridge. But warming reveals coffee backed up by wood, chocolate, toffee.
T - Big rich brown ale flavor. Chocolaty, graham cracker, coffee bitterness, woody, toffee, bready sweetness, fruitcake. Coffee aftertaste.
F - Medium body. Smooth. Lingering.
O - Delicious. Recommended.

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Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with beautiful lacing and a thick tannish head. Poured into a regular pint glass from a growler purchased at Good- ta- Go.

Smell: On the nose expect chocolate, coffee beans, molasses, caramel, and a general malty sweetness.

Taste: molasses, chocolate, caramel and coffee beans all combine with a malty bread sweetness. The coffee tastes provide a decent balance to the prevalent sweet maltiness.

Mouthfeel: Some carbonation. A smooth and creamy beer that rolls over the palate.

Overall: A creative brown ale with a good balance of flavor!

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Photo of farrago
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Yields about a half finger of light tan foam, nothing special about the retention level, the lacing lacks stickiness, broad sheets slipping down the glass. The looks clear and yet is more opaque than transparent, the hue is mainly brown with a brightening orange tint, bubbles are visually present but scattered. The nose gushes coffee but it is lightly roasted, freshly ground and sweet, like café con leche, plenty of caramel and milk chocolate notes, scone and breakfast cakes, certainly oatmeal, hint of bitterness to balance out the raisin and fig fruit notes, does an excellent job of presenting persistent pungency without becoming a chore. Medium-bodied, right off the bat you notice the difference in weight and mouth feel from what you normally get with these flavors. The carbonation is moderate, you get more fluffy than crisp textures. Here the bitter coffee bite punches through just a little more forcefully, needed as the molasses, caramel, cocoa sweetness runs with abandon. Grilled nuts pair nicely with challah bread and that same scone aspect. Orange peel, cherry, apricot and golden raisin fruit play together. Under all this is a subtle leafy and metallic earthy nuance. The sweetness masks the ABV well but you do feel the buzz if you pop open a second one. Seamless pleasure.

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Photo of Budinetz
4.73/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great color. Pours a light brown with a light caramel head. Smells of malty deliciousness with coffee overtones. Drinkable despite the 8.3%. Awesome mouthfeel... Would drink this again

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Photo of JPowell712
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a very interesting brew. It blends three things together that I have never tried together. It was dark brown to the pour with very little head to it. The aroma was obviously coffee. The taste was also very much of a coffee bean or espresso bean flavor. The oatmeal comes through in the taste also making it very smooth to the finish. To me it almost taste like an carbonated iced coffee. This is a great brew for coffee lovers and beer lovers alike. The aftertaste is a little bit on the bitter side, but so is strong brewed coffee. I like this beer.

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Photo of philbe311
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A very slight head, less than a fingers worth, of rich creamy light khaki colored froth... Decent retention especially considering its modest beginnings... It fades to a splotchy uneven veil of lacing and thin collar... The nose is loaded with coffee and chocolate at the forefront... The color is a slightly murky pale brown... A moderate bit of moderate carbonation rises throughout... Some light roasted malts... Dark breads and loads of crust... The nose is quite robust and fairly pleasing... The flavor profile follows closely to the nose with a hefty addition of brown sugar and some light nutty nuances... Medium bodied... Sleek, smooth and rather delectable... The addition of the oatmeal does wonders and makes this one rather velvety... Limited carbonation... Goes down exceedingly smooth... A welcome introduction to Free Will brewing... Interesting concept and one that was well executed... I will gladly enjoy this on multiple occasions going forward and I look forward to trying the rest of Fee Will's portfolio...

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Photo of Jim_Gillespie
4.76/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Just to get bias out of the way quickly, this is my favourite beer. That being said, the flavour it unique. Oatmeal stouts, I feel, are soothing (for lack of a better term). Nonetheless, the coffee itself is noticeable and to those of you who are fans of coffee and a nice beer, this is certainly I suggest trying. It's brownish in its colour and its taste is superb.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep amber color, good clarity, low carbonation, minimal carbonation. Thin off-white head.

Absence of hops would put this in the English (not American) Brown Ale camp. (That's what the bottle says, and I agree with it.) Although the 8.3% ABV certainly makes it an outlier in either style.

Malty, with an emphatic but not overwhelming coffee flavor - and maybe peanuts? Medium mouthfeel, sweet finish.

Overall, a damn fine Brown Ale regardless of style.

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Photo of HopBomb515
3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Deep mohagany and brown color with nearly no head and not much of any lacing. Smell is coffee, slightly nutty, caramel and toffee. Coffee, burnt caramel, toffee and a slight nutty note on the back end. Thin mouthfeel is underwhelming, ok carbonation seems off and dry finish seems misplaced. Good coffee flavor, a little off on the finish and mouthfeel. The taste saves this from being a bust, but not one I'd seek out again.

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Photo of PA-hunter
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 8.3% abv. From my hometown brewery.

Appearance- Quite dark, Caramel brown in color. Minimal white head that dissipates fast.

Smell- Big hints of roasted coffee, molasses, and caramel.

Taste- Rich sugary base with sweet malt flavors. Molasses like sweetness in the middle turns to a fresh roasted coffee bean flavor that goes right through to the end of the taste. The coffee taste lingers in the palate for quite some time, and is strong, yet brilliantly fresh and clean.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body, very smooth and lively as far as feel.

Overall- A suberb coffee beer of the brown ale style. Very fresh. The coffee is strong but just enough not to be overpowering. A great sipping beer with an imperial alcohol content. Seek this one out if you're into coffee-beer. Great blend of sweetness as well.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.17/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Pour is a clear caramel brown with a small amount of tan head. Nose is slightly overly roasted coffee, roasted malts, faint sticky caramel, a bit thin. Taste is the same, it has a bit of a cola flavored coffee, overly roasted malt, a touch acrid, moderate bitterness, overly carbonated and stings the throat.

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Photo of Omnium
4/5  rDev +3.4%

A. Brown with two fingers of fizzy tan head, no lacing.
S. Coffee roasts, nuttiness, lightly toasted malt and grains.
T. Creamy rich coffee and oatmeal, lovely roasted flavors, toasted caramel and toffee sweetness.
M. Well balanced, rich flavor.
O. Great brown, love the boldness of the coffee and the smoothness of the oatmeal

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Photo of FairBeer11
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Iced coffee in the winter! Great flavor and color. Aromas of coffee and chocolate. Light in body. Flavor carries through from beginning to a long aftertaste. Could drink all day if the ABV were lower.

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Photo of j4mmin42
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

This is an exceptional brew, but it really is overpowered by the coffee. The thing is, this doesn't take away from the beverage at all- it enhances it nearly perfectly. As far as the ABV- it's refreshing to have a sipping beer that does not have the sweet, syrupy qualities of a barleywine etc; being that those beers are usually not for me, this does rather well in the same role.

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Photo of saison90
1/5  rDev -74.2%

the only way i can describe this beer is coffee pickles. the smell was reminiscent of stale espresso grounds, and it tasted like it was brewed with pickling brine. me and a friend each had a single sipped and dumped it.

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Photo of Samp01
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep cloudy brown with a thin beige head. Aroma is a wonderful sweet coffee essence with some caramel and maple undertones. Taste is sweet caramel maple and sweet coffee candy and a bit of mild espresso bitterness. Palate is a medium smooth and creamy body, good carbonation and slight sticky mouth feel. Taste almost like a cup of ice cold java and with the alcohol at 8.3% you don’t notice it.The finish is the same as taste. Overall a very good tasty and enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Pours a dark blackish color with a short lived head.

Aroma is roasted malt, char, sweet vanilla, and booze.

In the taste, roasted malt, vanilla, coffee, a bit of char. Some alcohol and more nutty cocoa on the edges.

Good brew that drinks lighter than it truly is.

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Photo of beerdedking
4.45/5  rDev +15%

Just had this after dinner at Coopers, Scranton. Skip the coffee and drink this. What a treat. Sweet brown ale characteristics with a long coffee finish.
I mean loooonnnggg. Very nice. Will be looking for this in bottles to compare. I'd like to see more beers like this than coffee stout after stout. This style
just leaves the charred overly roasted malt behind. Very nice Free Will...

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Photo of wattoclone
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Aroma is coffee and hints of nuts. Pours a medium brown with tan head. Taste is not exceptional, but has coffee and some roasted malt. As usual for American craft brews, it has a high ABV which detracts from the experience. A mild craft beer like this should not hit you so hard. If I wanted to get sloshed fast I would just have a malt liquor.

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Photo of MikeWard
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%

On tap at Funcks in Palmyra, PA, part of a 4.5oz flight.

Deep copper coplor with thin white head. Nice strong coffee aroma, which translated well to the taste. A smooth taste and finish, none of the sour bitterness you sometimes get with brown ales. The high abv is well hidden.

Enjoyed this one, would certainly have it again.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I know that I am supposed to be on a moratorium against buying bottles, but I really like what Free Will B.C. is doing and so my Willpower is more Free than it should be! Ah, well.

From the bottle: "Blah blah blah blah blah IMPERIAL SOUTHERN ENGLISH-STYLE BROWN ALE blah blah blah blah INTENSE blah blah blah blah blah blah DELICIOUS blah blah ... Blah blah blah COFFEE blah AND THEN SOME MORE COFFEE!!!" Hey, I only transcribe what they print.

The initials C. O. B. in the navy stand for "Chief of the Boat" aboard submarines, so for all of my bubblehead brethren, I am going to sink ti one for you!

Caps Lock is now off and so is the cap. I went with my usual heavy-handed pour, resulting in my usual pseudo-cascade, settling into the usual two fingers of dense, light-tan head with moderate retention. Blah blah blah. Color was more of a Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) than a full-on Brown, but it had NE-quality clarity. Blah blah blah. Nose had an overly roasted coffee quality and although I like my coffee strong, bitter and black, like my women, I do not much dig that heavy roastiness. Blah blah blah. Mouthfeel was medium, at most. This in an Imperial version of the style?!? Blah blah blah. The taste was reminiscent of Kahlua in a boozy, coffee-infused way. Man, the first time I had Kahlua, I was a paperboy and these two cool cats had an apartment on Lancaster Avenue in the 400 block. One Friday night, when I was out doing weekly collections, one dude's hot sister in her mid-20s was visiting. She invites me in, we smoke some pot, she puts my head in her lap and begins pouring Kahlua into my mouth and then we were gettin' it on. No kidding! I was like sixteen or seventeen and it was not the first time that I had made it with somebody on that route. Pleasant memories, but I was not finding this beer to be all that pleasant. Blah blah blah. It just seemed too hot and the coffee was not making it happen either. Blah blah blah. Hey, don't get me wrong - I am all for experimentation, but sometimes, not everything works as planned. Blah blah blah.

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C.O.B. (Coffee Oatmeal Brown) from Free Will Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.