Whirly Bird | Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC

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Whirly BirdWhirly Bird
25 Ratings
Whirly BirdWhirly Bird

Brewed by:
Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC
Minnesota, United States

Style: English Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bighuge on 06-06-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 25 |  Reviews: 25
Reviews by nklatt:
Photo of nklatt
3.18/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes out black and generates a cappuccino head that slowly dissipates leaving no lacing. No yeast at bottom.

Odor is not strong and smells of carbon dioxide initially but moves on to roasty, burnt caramel.

Tastes earthy; okay but not really interesting. Feels good in the mouth; not sticky at all; could use more texture but that's probably a personal preference. Alcohol is subtle but noticeable.

There's nothing offensive about this brew so, yeah, one could feel free to drink up, if one weren't feeling too demanding.

The first Brau Bros brew I've liked.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of tempest
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from Princeton Liquors in Maple Grove, MN.

A very American oatmeal stout for the clean, deep roasted malt flavor that get are otherwise smoothed over by English yeast strains (see Samuel Smith OS). The taste comes off with a mix of burnt toast crust, fresh coffee, and bitter cocoa. Oats come out in the aftertaste, which also has a hot cocoa. The body is a normal, medium weight and the carbonation is light enough to make this a smooth drinking beer. Try this out if you like both your toast and coffee black.

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Photo of morimech
3.66/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a one fingered mocha colored head. The head settles to a thin cap after a short period. Lacing is a disapointing poor.

The smell is of roasted malt, almost burnt flavors. There is mocha and a milkhouse smell. I also smell wet oats.

Has a bitter taste that last till the finish. There is an underlying sweetness of mocha but it is short lived. I liked the taste at first but after awhile it wears on me and the bitterness burns out the tastebuds. Leaves a burnt bitter aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is just not there in this stout. The carbonation is low but it lacks the creamy mouthfeel of other oatmeal stouts.

The flavor at first is satisfying but it is somewhat one dimensional and wears on the tastebuds. I would not recommend this one to a person that is not accustomed to stouts. A nice effort none-the-less and I hope for more solid beers from this brewer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up as an extra in a recent trade. Was not really sure what to make of it, but I was in the mood for a good stout tonight, so here we go. Consumed on 03/18/2009.

Very nice pour here, huge with a deep, dark brown color and a rich, completely opaque look to it. Lots of tan head here, huge inch and a half of lacing up and over the top. Smooth, mellow aroma, with a rich roasted malt and a light carmael and burnt smell to it. Lots of molasses in the flavor with a subtle chocolate note to it as well. As it warmed some light coffee bitterness picked itself up and in the middle of it with a smooth, mellow, slightly dry finish that really capped it off damn near perfectly. Overall a very solid and very drinkable session stout. Something I would love to get again anyday of the week.

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Photo of schellsbeer
1.62/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I really want to like this local brewery but something about every beer I try ends up being below average. Why?

This beer, for a stout, is great looking but the taste is something very strange. Bitter, filling, funky, burnt malt, oily...

I wish the best for the Brau Brothers but they have got to do something different. Being a stout lover, I know what I am looking for and can, for the most part, look past a few problems but wow....with this beer, I just can't.

Come on guys...please taste your beer before you bottle it up and send it out.

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Photo of Greggy
4.17/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

* Bottled 1 day ago. :)

A- Pours a very nice black color with a 1 finger head that quickly recedes with no cap.

S- Very dark brown sugar, dry chocolate, mocha, very nice sweet smell associated with the oatmeal. Nice.

T- Very nice smooth dark chocolate, coffee, and a nice dry finish. I like this because it isn't as sweet as usual oatmeals, but instead has a nice dry finish like an Irish Dry.

M- Silky Smooth finish with no carbonation, great job with the oatmeal.

D- Nice job brau. Another nice addition to the lineup.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.18/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a near black color. The head is one inch in height, tan in color, and recedes within a minute into a nice cap of lacing. The aroma is of caramel, dark chocolate, graham cracker, cream, and traces of butter. The taste is of graham cracker, roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and a lingering astringency aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a low level of carbonation. Overall, I think this is a fairly pour example of an oatmeal stout. The aroma reminds me more of a robust brown ale, and the mouthfeel isn't as silky in texture as an oatmeal stout should be.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours nicely. Rich, black with a very dark head of 1/2 inch of fizzy noise. No light appears to penetrate this drink.
Aroma is of dark malt, roast and sweetness. Not a bold presence, but alright.
Tastes like an oatmeal stout should. Rich and sharp dark malt, heavy on roast, exceptionally long and fairly dry finish.
A little under smooth for oat based drink, but smooth nonetheless. Plenty of carbonation that may in fact inhibit it's feel some. Seems to grow heavier in time...and richer...and bolder, making this more enjoyable as we progress together. Drinks well, but the richness is a tad overdone.
Geez, I wish there regular beers could be as good as there one offs.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.41/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Plenty dark with a roasted tan cap - some highlights squeaking through to the sides. The retention of the cap isn't great, but it does leave some pleasant stick from the remaining ring. Looks big and dark and reasonably appealing.

Somewhat harsh, acrid roasted notes of bitter chocolate and coffee, with an unfortunately sour presence that reminds one of spoiled dark fruit. Not great, although the fruits and chocolate dovetail in their flavors and should add up to a decent flavor if the beer hasn't gotten too sour.

Really quite pleasant in the mouth as compared to the smell; still a little sour, but there's enough sweetness to come close to balance. More like a milk chocolate flavor than bittersweet; roasts are minimal and again, sour. The fruits are a bit off the mark, but do add some interest.

Fairly drinkable, the smoothness is nice, although I wouldn't mind a little more richness. Overall it's not too bad a micro-brewed oatmeal stout, but it's not quite awesome yet.

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Photo of sholland119
3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deeply opaques black with a thin head and little lacing.

Smell is all roasted coffee. Not much evidence of oatmeal sweetness or other notes.

Taste us about the same. Nice roastiness but absent any other qualities. Again, missing the flavor and texture oatmeal usually provides.

Mouthfeel is moderately thin but wiht medium carbonation.

Drinkability is fine but overall this is a somewhat bland beer. Not bad, just not all that interesting.


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Photo of HardTarget
3.66/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A) Deep black body with ruby edges when back lit. Dark tan foamy head billowed up to 4 fingers with a gentle pour.

S) Creamed coffee, cocoa, some tobacco, little vanilla cream

T) Dark burnt edge grain stout. Some wet cardboard oxidation (my bad, I held it pretty long). Cold sweet coffee flavors give some nice depth.

M) Dry finish, low carbonation.

D) Tasty, great smell, look forward to trying another fresh sample.

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Photo of mothman
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass. No freshness date found.

Pours a one finger head that dissipates to a thin layer over the beer. Leaves some splattered lace.

Aroma is of nuts, chocolate, carmel, and coffee. A deep robust aroma. Taste is very malty. It has a lot of the similar notes as the aroma in it. Also has some earthy hops to it.

Mouthfeel is slightly bitter, but then numbs down quickly. Leaves a somewhat sticky aftertaste. Well carbonated.

Overall, this is a decent stout. It seems like a lighter bodied stout. I didn't notice the oatmeal at all. I had GI Oatmeal stout which was amazing, this didn't taste much like it.

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Photo of Duffman
3.92/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an oily black color with a delightfully mahogany brown head.

The smell is quite nice. Vanilla and cream predominate with a nice oakiness. Roasted malt also comes through and provides a splendid compliment to the vanilla and cream. For me the smell is relatively better than the taste. Some smokiness to the taste but much less of what comes through in the aroma is actually present here. Not bad at all in a grand sense but as far as oatmeal stouts go nothing spectacular. Mouthfeeel is nice, somewhat oily with a pleasant grip on the palate. Drinkability is above average and quite respectable. Overall not a bad beer, quite good, but as far as oatmeal stouts go there is some rather esteemed company and this beer can't quite hold up to those heavy hitters (sam smith, young's).

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Photo of maximum12
1.96/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'm really trying to like these beers. From what I've read & heard the brothers are stand up guys trying to make beer right.

But there's something wrong with it. I tried Frame Straightener; couldn't finish the bottle. My wife drank the other five.

Had a Whirly Bird tonight. It has the same problem; an undefinable, wet dog, bad breath, oxidized odor coming off the beer & lingering in the mouth. The same thing I experienced with the FS. I finished the bottle, but the experience left me thinking I'm going to give it another year or two before I try another Brau Brothers beer.

Maybe it's a personal problem. Maybe the yeast, or water they use, or something else in the process is setting off my taste buds. But I can't stomach it.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a becher. Beer is black and forms a thick head that falls away quickly leaving some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is slightly sweet and has a nice ethereal note to it, lots of roast in the aroma, smell like an oatmeal stout.

Beer is relatively thin, some roast in the back but the forward flavors are a little subdued. Its pretty drinkable but its all a bit muted. Its pretty good. I'd be interested to try other beers from this brewery, this one is OK.

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Photo of ZAP
3.89/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reminds me of another of my favorite oatmeal stouts...Gray's Oatmeal Stout.

Appealing aroma of roasted malts nuts (almonds, pecans), black strap molasses, oatmeal cookies, and a little milk chocolate.

Taste is roasty with notes of coffee,molasses and chocolate.

Biggest knock is the body and feel. I'd call it barely medium bodied and it lacks the velvety, rich texture I like in an oatmeal stout.

A nice beer. I really enjoy the way it smells. A little work on the body and feel and this could be a real dandy.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black beer. Brown head. Moderate lace. Big chocolate and cocoa on the nose. Roasted notes and something a little odd in the mix as well. Can't quite pinpoint it though, but the roasted chocolate tones dominate. Nice chocolate, roast, slight coffee and cocoa on the palate. A little roasted bitterness lingers, which is appropriate. Texture could be a little creamier, but not bad overall. Solid O Stout.

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Photo of orcasteve
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into my duvel tulip glass, poured a black thick color with a decant tan head that disapers to nothing quickley. the smell is strong sweet carmell. the taste is a rich oatmeal and coffiee to start, the middle is caremell and floral hops the end flavor is baking choclat a hint of alchoal and a smoth charchoal flavor. this is a beer that i got in a bif and loved, i hope this beer gets more recognition as it is quit good

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Photo of koopa
3.72/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (2010 vintage) received as an extra in a trade last year.

Appearance: Pours black as night with a 1 finger slightly khaki crown that displays moderate retention and minimal lace.

Smell: Medium roast, some chocolate, and a hint of coffee.

Taste: Same as nose but not as flavorful.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall: Decent brew that I wouldn't mind trying fresh but I wouldn't really work hard to seek it out.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank out of a pint glass.

A-Jet black and opaque, a black hole appearance even when held up to a light. Small brown head formed, low retention.

S-Assertive deep malt aromas, including heavy roasted and chocolatey smells. An overall very strong aroma, with a hint of sweetness.

T-Dominated by roasted and toasted barley flavors, enhanced by chocolate and a hint of nutty. The oatiness of this oatmeal stout is apparent. Bitterness is characteristically low, with now hop aroma. A slight astringency later in the flavor.

M-A silkiness imparted from the oats makes this beer feel heavy and light at the same time. Lively on the tongue from the low carbonation.

D-Surely a quite drinkable oatmeal stout. Enjoyable from the first sip to the last, and leaving me pleased enough to want another :D

A winner for sure!

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Photo of kingothewoods
3.32/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Homebrew cap with sticker label. Extremely dark for an oatmeal stout. Unable to see through the beer. Dark brown head. Smells of deep dark roast with chocolate, coffee, and malt. Although, I did not taste anything other than roasted malt. The mouthfeel was good with a twisting turning feeling when you swallow.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bittersweet chocolate chip with dark bronze highlights at the edges of the glass. Even though the sun hasn't yet crested the horizon, I get the feeling that the beer is opaque. The caramel colored cap is on the soft and unsticky side. A whole lotta lace is unlikely. Note: a few forlorn scraps is about it.

The aroma isn't bad by any means, but it could be bolder and I could do without the hint of sourness. Dark chocolate leads the way, followed by dark caramel and a few chunks of tart fruit. My prediction is that the above average scores will continue on the palate.

Whirly Bird smells a little better than it tastes. Brau Brothers haven't made it easy to find the ABV, so I'm reduced to guessing. Given the flavor depth and the mouthfeel, let's go with... 6.0%. If it's bigger than that, it isn't much bigger.

I expect an oatmeal stout to be a fraction sweeter than this and much less sour. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that Cascade (or similar) hops were used. Simply put, WB doesn't have the bittersweet chocolate and/or roasted barley flavor and depth that all good versions bring to the table. Specific flavors include Hershey bars, dark caramel, stale coffee, unripe plums and a pinch of grapefruit peel shavings.

It's hard to judge the body/mouthfeel without knowing the ABV. If it's significantly greater than 6.0%, subtract another half-point. Since 10% of the malt bill is toasted oats, things should be much softer and creamier. Decent job on the carbonation, though.

With respect to the Single Batch Series, Ring Neck Braun is the best thing Brau Brothers have ever brewed, Frame Straightener is a poor excuse for a Belgian-style pale ale and Whirly Bird Oatmeal Stout is somewhere in the vast middle. This is okay beer, but I'm glad I only bought one bottle.

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Photo of Chaz
4.07/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black to the eye with a redish-tan head and moderate lacing. Nose is very good, heavy on the chocolate (milk chocolate) notes, some smoke, and a touch of sweetness. Soft on the palate, there's a touch of bittersweet character, some toasted malt and a ton more of the chocolate bringing up the rear. The smoke was more prevalent my on first go-round but it's still there, lingering in the aftertaste a bit. My overall impression is that this is an excellent dessert beer, maybe a bit too sweet to session but very good at being what it is. Might pair well with a spicey barbecue.

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Photo of katan
3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle

A - Not much light getting through this beer. Thick and dark. The mocha colored head was very light and quick to fully disappear. Appears to be lots of bubbling from carbonation coming up through the beer.

S - Roasted malts, coffee, and perhaps a sweet raisin note mixed in. Very sweet smelling, but still pleasant. Resmelling reveals some chocolate as well.

T - Starts with a fairly unassertive smoky malt flavor that has a fair amount of bitter balance along with it. Mid stream the flavors build sweeter. Finishes with a strong dark chocolate note. A nice balance against the early bitterness.

M - The initial impression is more carbonation string that other Oatmeal Stouts I've had. Perhaps more than by the style. The body of the beer itself is thick and creamy.

D - A fairly drinkable beer - surprisingly light on the palette considered the body of the beer. The flavors of this beer are probably more for an opening or a closing beer, but not a session.

A very solid Oatmeal Stout - I'm liking it.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Whirly Bird Oatmeal Stout, Brau Brothers, Lucan, MN

Full-on, thick, inky black, big roasted tan head, slims down to nil in no time.

Bittersweet aroma, cocoa and anise , slick and oily...dark rum meets coffee.

More of the same in the mouth...but lacks real depth of character. Tastes like a stout right off, then feels a bit hollow. Missing ...something. Anything would do, really. And it's not here.

Sorry, not doing it for me. Good, but no more than average.

In retrospect, maybe I was not in the right frame of mind when sampling this bottle, but I kept comparing it to the best of the style, and in my mind, it came up wanting.
Good try, though.

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Whirly Bird from Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC
Beer rating: 3.56 out of 5 with 25 ratings