Whitstable Oyster Stout | Swale Brewery

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Brewed by:
Swale Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 24
Photo of unit555
2.93/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It's hard to make a stout I dont enjoy but I am not so sure about this one.

The color is most excellent (pure pitch black) and it poured with a nice head but unfiortunately it didn't last and left very little lace on the glass. The generous chunk of yeast left on the bottom of the bottle was unusual for a store bought beer.

No smell, I'll say it again. It had virtually no smell giving me no preview of the first sip.

It had a sharp taste on the tongue that seemed to decrease as it warmed up. The finish was long and smooth which saved its rating in this category.

Not what I expect of a stout. I'd drink it again but I think it need sfood to bring out its better qualities. The oyster accompaniment recommendation on the bottle seems appropriate.

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Photo of dgallina
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nearly-opaque black with a very minimal head which quickly dissolves into a few pools of lace. Not the most impressive stout visually. Looks something like a nearly-flat coke from the top. Aroma is creamy roasted coffee and toasted bread malts. Strong toasted coffee and burnt bread flavors are quite agreeable, but ultimately one-dimensional. There's not much follow-through either; the flavor nearly disappears once the beer is swallowed. Body is slightly creamy and pleasant, if a bit light.

A tasty, if simplistic, stout. Not something I'd wax nostalgic for, but might be nice if you were in the mood for a few in a row.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a one-finger brown head that fades quickly and leaves traces of lace. Totally black color. Light carbonation and light-medium bodied. Nose is a sweet caramel. Starts and finishes with a coffee/chocolate flavor. A sweet stout. $5.95 for a 500ml bottle; found at Vintage Cellar, Blacksburg, VA.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.65/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This stuff is bloody fantastic! Deep rich smell with a bit of smoke and chocolate. Pours black like coffee with a light brown almost creamy head which dissipates quickly. The taste, just as the smell, has a bit of smoke and chocolate, as well. A bit of a charred taste. The mouthfeel is absolutely amazing, especially for a brew of such depth and richness. Extremely smooth and fantastically smooth. I drink pints upon pints of this. Brilliant!!

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Photo of hollicetales
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This stuff pours smooth but black as sin...very dark and wonderful stout with subtle murky and a very vague hint of smokiness. It has a twinge of sweetness but good and balancing, Mine had nice bit of creamy head. I have to bring up the bottle because they did a great job on packaging and the watercolor was very pretty. I actually could see. This is smooth for a stout and not bitey at all, but very drinkable. I actually could imagine this going really well with a clam bake on the beach in the fall or just watching sports with stuffed oysters. I bit to nice to use for baking but i'd be tempted to pour a bit into my oyster stew sometime then drink the rest.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Very dark in color, almost black, with a huge, gorgeous head that pitted nicely.

Smell – The aroma is soft here, but there are some nice smoke and peat notes to go along with the sharp, roasted malt base. There’s also a hint of espresso bitterness.

Taste – There’s a noticeable sweetness that joins this Stout at the tongue. It seems like oatmeal, but I could be wrong. The smokiness is very prevalent along with the peat, which gives it a subtle hint of a scotch ale or something along those line.

Mouthfeel – This is medium-bodied at best. I usually like my stouts a little fuller, but the incredible smoothness to this one more than made up for it.

Drinkability – This is a lovely, easy-drinking Stout. I don’t care much for oysters, but this would go with just about anything. I could drink this with a T-bone or a crunchy spinach salad. It would probably make an excellent session ale and must be awesome on-tap.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark black color. Medium head. Aroma is chocolate. A medium bodied sweet stout. Malts are chocolate and coffee. Hops are slightly spicy. Nicely balanced. Coffee and chocolate with a touch of vanilla. Smooth and mellow. Very easy drinking stout. Nice dry finish. Mouthfeel is full. Finish is dry and clean. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
2.96/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer wishes it had some head, any head. Blackish-red opaque beer with ruby highlights when light is lucky enough to pass through. Aroma of roasted malt and chocolate with bitter coffee in the background. The flavor is coffee, roasted barley, and bitter chocolate. It also was a winelike flavor. The beer is thin and almost flat.

The beer shows great promise, but the lack of head and low to almost non-existend carbonation along with light body lower the marks for this beer.

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Photo of cokes
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pretty much black. Only a few burgundy specks around the edges. Pours nearly headless. The tan topping fades before the glass is placed to the lips.
Nose full of roast and chocolate. Stouty with traces of burnt caramel.
Begins mildly roasted. Coffee and baker's chocolate. Some black malt twang, Sweetness appear, and it develops an almost oatmeal stout-like character. Never as full though. A bit husky in the middle, but still bathed in the roastedness. Burnt caramel and toffee traits coexist with some mineral hues. Ends lightly bitter, though not explicitly hoppy. No oysters or sea influence noted.
Light bodied and thin for a stout. Seems porter-ish (or even lighter).
Not great, but easily consumed and relatively tasty.

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Photo of moulefrite
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good deep color yet little in the way of head. It fades to a tiny hugging of the perimiter of the glass. Would that be referred to as an English "rim job" ? The mouthfeel is light and reminiscent of an English Mild like black cat yet a tad heavier. The nose is toasted chocolate malt, and (maybe because I'm looking at the label at three sea blokes carrying in a mess of oysters in buckets) perhaps a slight briney, salty character? This does, oddly enough seem to be a brew that would go with oysters! It certainly has a minerality and persona of the sea to some strange degree. Perhaps a little sea water in the process! The beer finishes with decent length and a pleasant mildly bitter taste. Good, but I don't want another until I find the Whitstable Oyster Source in my neck of the woods.

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Photo of Gusler
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark and brooding brown to not quite black color with highlights of garnet around the rim and a majestic light chocolate head that is somewhat creamy and the lace a thick and clinging sheet. The nose is sweet malt, hints of chocolate and toasted grains with a thick rich and sweet malt start, the top is full bodied. Finish is mild in its carbonation and the hops personable in their spiciness, dry sweet aftertaste, a nice drinkable brew and yes maybe just a hint of the sea.

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Photo of TheDM
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This brew poured a medium sized head of fine to large dark brown bubbles. It has an opaque black body with some carbonation clinging to the side of the glass. Its aroma was that of chocolate. I was a little fizzy for a stout and lacked the coffee overtones. There was a raisin note in it but it was pretty smooth over all.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Originally sampled on 3 February 2003. I am writing this review from my notes. This is a lightly carbonated, jet black stout w/ a slightly sweet flavor. It's an easy drinker. As described, it has chocoloate undertones which are very nice. It's a good beer, butI don't taste any 'oyster'.

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

Purchased in Boston the weekend of the AoBF...

Appearance: Pours a color that is one shade away from being full black which is absolutely opaque. It's creamy, tan head starts out thick and rocky. It quickly shrinks down to a small cap, which soon disappears, leaving a lifeless, limp brew.

Smell: Sweet and malty with a strong mineral component. There's a hint of buttery diacytel, but not much else...

Taste: The flavor is slighty sweet, with a roasted bitterness that gradually shows itself and shifts the balance. There's a fairly hefty mineral flavor from the brewing liquor used, as well as a touch of saltiness. A bit of diacytel is present. Other than that, the flavor is a bit thin...

Mouthfeel: Smooth and round with a mouthfeel that's too thin for the style. More body please...

Drinkability: Decent... This is an o.k. sweet stout, but nothing to make a special trip for. Maybe a side of Whitstable Oysters would help...

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Photo of BigHead
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Now, I didn't have any oysters with this stout, so I'll try not to be shellfish...bad one, eh? A dark black stout with a light tan creamy head. Sugary sweet chocolate malt aroma. This is a thin, acidic feeling beer, somewhat surprising from the appearance. The roasted malt flavor is not overpowering but the roasted flavors dance at the back of the mouth along with hints of caramel. The brew lacks flavor intensity. It does feel as though the beer cleanses the palate, perhaps neutralizing the metallic, silvery sensation sometimes left by oysters, which this beer is meant to accompany.

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Photo of ElGuapo
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice dark chocolate brown color with foam of tan on top. It dies down a bit quick, but it leaves a bit of lace on the glass. Aromas of roasty malts, coffee, and chocolate are there, but not in the amount I would like.

This brew is exceptionally smooth and silky. Very roasty and a nice blend of chocolate and coffee make up the flavor. The body is thin, and it really hurts this beer. If there was a lot more of the flavor it has, it would be much much better. It is very drinkable and pretty tasty, but it is just not enough for a stout lover like myself.

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Photo of Wildman
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured almost black with a medium brown head that left little lace as it subsided. It had an aroma of malt, coffee and chocolate. The flavor was of malt, coffee and chocolate. The finish had a sweetness to it, yet astrigent, but a little light for this style.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have heard that this brewery is either closed or closing soon which is a shame. Pours almost black with a medium light brown head. Very thin lacing. Aroma of coffee with underlying chocolate. Body is rather thin with coffee, cocoa and roasted malt flavors. Finish is a little sweet and a little sour. On the grand scale this Stout was not stellar, but I would like to try it again if I can get my hands on any more.

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Photo of fattyre
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear extremely dark red/brown with a dissipating tan head. The mouthfeel is firm. The smell is smokey malt with a slight winey hint. The taste is full roasted malt with slight bitter dry finish. A decent stout that is mild and quite drinkable.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown to black appearance with no substantive head. What little head appeared was tan and faded to a ring that laced nicely at least halfway through the glass. Attractive brown bottle with simple labeling that praised this brew's popularity with Whitstable oysters. We tried it with oysters and it did work nicely. In fact, it worked well with our entire meal.

Smoky smell and roasted grain taste. Very nice, mild flavors with undertones of chocolate. I noticed a sour start to the first few sips, but this sense faded quickly. Mouthfeel was less creamy than anticipated; certainly more watery. Overall, an enjoyable meal enhancer.

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Photo of Bunnyhop
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear, extremely dark red-brown Oyster Stout with a dissipating tan head. The smell is definitely smokey. The taste is roasted, followed by malt, with a slight bitter finish. The body is firm in my mouth. Overall a nice drinkable, bottle-conditioned stout.

"A perfect accompaniment to Whitstable Oysters." Whitstable Bay on the north Kent coast of England has been famous for centuries and an old Kentish tradition says that Julius Caesar was drawn to Britain by the Whitstable oysters.

"The Swale Brewing Company produce hand crafted bottle conditioned beers using water, maris otter floor malt, whole hops and yeast." Some oyster stouts are brewed with oysters, based on the information on the label I do not think they brew this beer with oysters, but intend for it just to be consumed with them.

(source: Habersham Discount Beverage; Savannah, GA)

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Photo of aracauna
3.31/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark black. Came across opaque in my 20 oz pint glass. Head is wimpy and doesn't last. The flavor and aroma are mild, slightly sweet, some chocolate, very low coffee/burnt flavors. There's an odd flavor underneath that meshes with the fruitiness. I can't really describe it. I don't know if this is one of the Oyster Stouts that uses the actualy oyster juice or oyster shells, but if it is, that may be where that flavor comes from. I'd have liked a chunkier stout. Mouthfeel has a touch of chalkiness.

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Photo of packetknife
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at a resturant in West Hartford a few weeks back. Stole a business card to jot notes down on. Dark brown w/ no discernable head. Thinner than expected. Cooking chocolate and roaster malts hit you like a hammer. Very smooth, very drinkable. I don't think I'd like it with a meal again, maybe post-meal though. Good brew though and something I'll re-visit.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle conditioned. Black body with ruby highlights. Tan head which percolated and settled into a thin cap, then an oil slick. Coffee with cream aroma. Taste is rich. Some roast notes surrounded by hop tingles. Mouthfeel is smooth, but thinner than I expected. A good stout, but not a "wow".

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Whitstable Oyster Stout from Swale Brewery
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 24 ratings