El Toro Negro Oatmeal Stout | El Toro Brewing Co.

46 Reviews
no score
Send samples
El Toro Negro Oatmeal StoutEl Toro Negro Oatmeal Stout

Brewed by:
El Toro Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 46 | Ratings: 66
Photo of BMWiens
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Pours very dark, almost black, with a thin tan head.

Taste is on the bitter side, combination of the hops and the roasted malts. Malts are darker than a typical oatmeal stout, in my experience, with a bit of smokiness adding to the aroma.

Mouthfeel is fine, nothing special.

A good beer to go with smoked or wood grilled meat, or baked beans.

 345 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single at Total Wine at the end of September for $1.99.

Beer poured black with a nice tan head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose has hints of coffee and roasted malts.

Taste has a bit of a metallic tinge, some coffee, roastiness.

Mouthfeel is lacking for the style, thin and not overly smooth.

Overall it is a quaff-able beer but nothing to write home about. Overpriced for what you get.

 407 characters

Photo of rixcat
3.11/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sweet, cold, wet, dark dark brown, slightly bitter, and almost sticky, offering up a relatively suburban clean-cut low-statement middle-of-the-road taste. Kept sipping hoping I would find the right something that would help me put into words a rousing review. I started concluding that I was over-thinking it and that I should just try and enjoy the cool drink in my face; a superb beer would come up with its own invigorating remarks. Well, I finished my beer, decided that it didn't do it for me and enjoyed time with my friends.

 531 characters

Photo of rickyleepotts
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I have had this beer before, but learning the brewing process at El Toro has me pumped up to drink it again. Cool they brew so little beer at the brewpub. Looking at pictures of the brewpub, this place is small. Our kind of place. Oh, and looking at the label makes me think of the Breakfast Club. "You mess with the bull… you get the horns!" Ha!

We just got back from Flagstaff where we visited nearly every brewery within a 10 mile radius. We hit up Flagstaff Brewing Company, Lumberyard Brewing Company, Beaver Street Brewing Company, and Mother Road Brewing Company. Mother Road is sweet. They were all sweet. We also went to Hops On Birch, McGaughs SMoke & Bottle, and Oak Creek Brewing Company. I am losing track here… At Hops On Birch they had a Four Peaks tap takeover, and they had Sirius Black on tap. Yeah, we had some of that!

Before I forget, we also went to Made in the Shade, a huge beer festival in the middle of nowhere. It was $40, and while we drank a TON of beer, we won't be going back. The Strong Beer Festival is our new favorite. Anyway, I will stop talking about our weekend and start talking about this beer. Bottoms up, people!

In the Glass: Pitch black is right. That is dark as night. The head was nice, but didn't last long. It was a nice foamy tan that I wish was thicker and stickier. Not much lace here. The next time we have a weekend off, I want to head to California and see this operation. From the looks of it, it's small and this was basically a homebrew before they started bottling it. I have had all three beers from El Toro offered in Arizona. This was my favorite. Of course, this time I am drinking with a purpose!

Nose: Not much going on here… it has a nice metallic finish, but not as impressive as I expected it to be. I am getting some subtle chocolate malt flavors, but I have to dig deep to find them. I hope the flavor is better than this.

Flavor: That really delivers. I like the mouthfeel best…but I will get to that. The flavor isn't overwhelming, and it has a nice fluffy mouthfeel. The flavor hangs on a bit, but leaves my mouth polished and ready for another sip. This isn't an incredible beer by any means, but it does have a nice drinkability. I can see myself drinking a pitcher of this during dinner.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel, and the finish, is my favorite part of this beer. The head was, at first, thick and creamy. The mouthfeel is every bit of that. On a second sip, I swished it around in my mouth a little bit. Some of those same chocolate malt flavors come out, but it is SO overwhelming that I could barely swallow. Still a nice finish leaving a somewhat metallic finish. I bet this would be great room temperature.

Aftertaste: I expect a beer like this to have a longer finish… but that's OK. It's thin enough to justify drinking a pint or more of this. The price is right, too. That is if you can find it. Total Wine & More is always out of the El Toro beers. Not sure if that is just a distribution problem, or what. They ALWAYS have their amber, but I am not a fan of amber ales.

This is a good introduction to the style. The tasting notes mentioned the oats, but I am not tasting much of that. If I didn't know any better, I would almost call this an Irish dry stout. Still a good example of the style. If you are new to craft beer and/or oatmeal stouts, this is a great place to start. Cheers!

 3,394 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.64/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: totally black with a thick finger of frothy dark-tan foam atop. Classic.

Smell: quite roasty and chocolatey, with a bit of over-roasted character. Good, but could be a little bit cleaner.

Taste: roasty right up front, with a harsher, ashier flavor toward the middle. Hop character is a bit vegetal, as well. Not bad, but not as smooth as I like in the style.

Mouthfeel: while the flavor might not be so smooth, the texture really is. Medium body with a silky creaminess that hits the spot.

Overall: there's an edginess to this beer that barbs me a little bit. It has its good points, though, and is worth a try at least.

 680 characters

Photo of mactrail
2.79/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Dark color, nearly black, with brown edges. Modest foam with no lacing at all. Kind of flat flavor of dark malt. Not real sweetness, and not much hoppiness either. Flavor is more of a grainy,butnt malt taste, with a malty aftertaste and very little bitterness.

Tastes more like a Schwartzbier. Is this the way Oatmeal Stouts are supposed to taste? The burnt sourish tang is stronger than I like. More like it's on the way to becoming a sour. I keep finding this taste with Arizona beers. Scorched cereal, mediocre carbonation, and that unpleasant sour edge. There are so many better stouts of every description. This is worse even than bottled Guinness.

 654 characters

Photo of ocelot2500
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep ebony color with a quickly fading tan head that leaves little to no lacing.

Smells of cocoa and oatmeal mostly.

Tastes of the oats and roasted malts. Coffee notes lead off transitioning over to some cocoa notes. Oatmeal is present throughout. A touch of earthiness also comes through and rounds everything out.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, a pretty decent oatmeal stout, but nothing that stands out.

 453 characters

Photo of Reidrover
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz single from "Lifesource" S.Salem. $1.75 typical near black ( mahogany hint) beer with a lovelly frothy,thick tan head. Creamy ,oatlike aromas..rolled Scottish oats.,coffee slightly roasted. Very nice bitter coffee and cocoa nib flavours..again a roastiness that is pleasing. Great palate to this one the oats add even more substance to an already luxuriant mouthful. Overall a very nice stout and not too strong. I can see me buying a six pack next time.

 460 characters

Photo of g00dness
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the SF beer week kickoff event.

It poured a completely opaque dark brown with an inch of pretty, quickly dissipating head.

The nose really really reminded me of werther's originals candy, something I probably haven't had in years. :)

After looking and smelling the taste was kind of disappointing. There was an interesting tanginess that comes in about 2/3 of the way through, and a pleasant malt background, but otherwise I didn't get much out of this brew.

The mouthfeel was really sharp for this style of beer. Oatmeal stout is supposed to be absurdly smooth, not like this.

Drinkability was above average, mostly because the finish was cleaner and completely not sticky.

 691 characters

Photo of ebrauser
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass

Appearance: Dark brown and very opaque, with a dark brown head which is think but quickly settles, leaving some lace on the side of the glass.

Aroma: Coffee and chocolate bitterness with some toasty bread malt.

Flavor: Bitter and thin, with lots of chocolate malt. Pale sweetness does not withstand the bitterness of the chocolate. Slight oxidation in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Much too thin than would be expected for an oatmeal stout. Medium body at best.

 495 characters

Photo of SykDoc
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this courtesy of Opethsprite, much thanks.

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. It pours a deep brown that basically looks black when held to the light. A 1/4 inch mocha colored bubbly head forms and reduces to delicate lacing around the edges.

The aroma initially includes more of a bitter coffee component. There is a bread-like component and some dark fruit. Very mild hops are hidden but present. A sour component likely related to the oatmeal.

The taste again included a healthy dose of coffee, mixed with a more dark chocolate and dark fruit as it warms. As with the aroma, this is a mildly sour, oatmeal-like taste.

The mouthfeel was light/medium bodied (for a stout) and if it had been stiffer, I think the whole beer would have been rated higher. It has a long smooth and minimally dry component that lingers at the finish. Carbonation initially seemed mildly high and as it went, started to seem a little low.

Overall, this is quite good beer. I do think there are some areas for improvement but I would certainly purchase it again and given that I can't get it regularly where I live, should I be in the area where it was produced, I would try to make a visit.

 1,180 characters

Photo of Opethsprite
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown with a sticky tan head (although it didn't "stick" around...yuk yuk yuk). Mmm! Smells very sweet-- toffee, hazelnut, and chocolate, with alcohol present. Not as complex as one might have hoped, and it somewhat fails to explore the flavors hinted at in the smell in great detail. I really like how the toffee becomes delightfully smoky at the finish. Expectedly smooth (as is characteristic of the style), but with a good deal of carbonation to brighten it and balance the stickyness (although it is less successful here). Nicely done.

 559 characters

Photo of Offa
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a pretty good, tasty oatmeal stout.

Black, it has a medium-large light brown head slowly shrinking to a wispy top and ring, leaving a little bit of lace.

The aroma is very pleasant, a little muted but still pretty strong. It's toasty with raisins, a dark raisiny wine hint, brown bread, hints of wet bark, sweet-sour caramelized fruit, coffee, and dark chocolate.

The taste is somewhat similar, fruity, chocolatey, with an undercurrent of that oatmeal sour, doughy quality, hints of molasses, caramel, pepper. It's slightly on the sweet side. It's fairly full-bodied and at first both smooth and zesty in feel. However, after a while the overall feel and interplay of elements becomes a bit flat and watery. It remains solid, tasty, and very drinkable, though.

 771 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Much thanks for the kind BA who included this one as an extra in a recent trade. Bif fan of the style so I could not wait. Served at cellar temperature in an oversized wine glass, this one was consumed on 09/28/2008.

The pour was very nice with a rich dark brwon, nearly black coming through right away. Nice head of maybe an inch came up over the top but settled down quickly into just a thin film across the top. Decent side glass lacing as well.

The aroma deep with notes of coffee and cocoa, almost bittersweet with a light hoppiness undercutting the deeply roasted malts. Slight peat like aroma as it warmed up. The flavor started out a little off for the style with a health dose of smoked and roasted malts, not exactly at all what I was expecting out of it, but none the matter it was still very good. Rich notes of cocoa overlayed with a hint of dark bakers chocolate and an almost molasses like flavor swirling around in there as well. The finish though was coated with licorice like flavors and very wet, leaving you almost drooling, waiting for another sip to come through. Decent feel on this one, though if I am being honest, towards the end of the session it did start to feel a little bit flat on me, but maybe it was me. Still though, more then decently sessionable and I would have no issues with drinking this again.

Overall not bad for a little stout, I am not sure it fits in totally with the style, but none the less it was still very nicely done. I would have no issue at all with trying this one again. Solid offering.

 1,545 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark chocolate brown that has the slightest opacity when held to light. The light tan head retains fairly well, leaving sticky lace on the rim of the glass.

Smell: Sweet milk chocolate, coffee with cream, roasted malt. On the sweet and malty side of things, but nowhere near cloying.

Taste & mouthfeel: The most immediately striking thing about this brew is the mouthfeel - oatmeal is put to good use here. Rich and silky smooth without being overly heavy or sweet, this is top notch stuff. The taste is a straight-forward but enjoyable mix of chocolate and toast up front with a semi-dry coffee finish. This beer would be remarkable on cask, I'd bet.

 665 characters

Photo of khiasmus
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an inky black into my glass with a light tan soapy head that drops relatively quickly. Leaves minimal lacing.
Smells of maple syrup, roasted grain, bourbon, oatmeal cookies.
The flavor is completely different, however. Sure the roasted grain is there, but there's a hint of sour oak in the finish... was this aged in oak?
Mouthfeel is relatively creamy, though the carbonation is a bit high. finish is long and smooth.
Quite a drinkable stout. My hopes were up from the IPA which was amazing. This is unique and good, certainly worth a try, but nowhere near as good as their IPA.

 586 characters

4.6/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A massive crackling three plus finger head jumps off the jet black body. Rocky foam fades leaving some lace. Toasted malts, buttery toffee and rich coco are all overy the satisfying nose. Oh so smooth on first sip showing the oats really did thier job. Mellow silky sweetness graces the mouth with hints of rich toffee and slightysmokey carmalized malts. An exceptionally satisfying and sessionable stout. A bit of powdery bitter does develop as you continue to drink. Mouthfeel is pleasant and well balanced. Amazingly well drinkable. I would like to have lots more of this fine brew. It is a solid chalanger for Ipswich IMO.

 626 characters

Photo of ibbjamin
3.02/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Paid $4.50 for a pint from El Toro in Morgan Hill, CA.

Half finger non frothy light tan head that dissipated quickly and had no retention. Little carbonation visually. Little lacing.

Malty and not overpowering in the nose.

Taste is very mild, and mouthfeel is watery and lighter bodied, especially for a stout. Medium carbonation.

Very easy to drink.

I also noted in the description on the beer menu the following which I did not find to be true:
-rich coffee flavors
-mild cocoa tones
-smooth, mild bitterness
-full body

Not El Toro's best offering.

 556 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a tan colroed one finger head. The head lingers a while and some nice lacing develops.

Smell: roasted malts is the mai aroma with little else.

Taste: roasted malts, prunes, soft coffee tones, and a bit of general graininess. Mellow bitterness and a touch of dryness rounds it out.

Mouthfeel: lighter in body than expected. Lightly crisp at the start and smoother but a bit prickly at the finish. Mild aftertaste as the roasted malts are the primary tone lingering in the mouth.

Drinkability: decent oatmeal stout that one can drink for a while since they are a bit lighter in body and the flavor is decent. Worth a try.

 661 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a sturdy mocha head that sticks around like a pancake on top of the liquid and dots the glass with lace

Smell: Nice roasty aroma, with dark chocolate underneath

Taste: Starts out with a roasty flavor that flattens out and delivers some cocoa by mid-palate; after the swallow, the cocoa builds but there is also an unexpected sour quality that a few others have noticed

Mouthfeel: A bit thin for a stout with moderate carbonation; none of the creaminess one would expect from the oatmeal

Drinkability: Not a bad drinker but the sourness and the mouthfeel keep it from getting to the next level

Thanks, Lothore, for the opportunity

 678 characters

Photo of oberon
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Guinness pint glass a near pitch black except for just a slight tint of ruby when held into light a thinner but well retained mocha colored head atop.Appetizing mix of cocoa and roasty malt in the nose with a touch of a molasses,an oatmeal stout with quite a big hop profile quite roasty with soft cocoa notes and some wood a big earthiness really hits home in the finish making me want more.I really like this oatmeal stout it is gentle but hop hearty,well done

 477 characters

Photo of Murchmac
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer looks and smells better than it tastes. I never expect much from this brewery, but since they had a beer out I could buy only one of them, I tried it.

They brew a good poppy jasper, but this is not an oatmeal stout. It's a hoppy, dark version of an amber ale. California is known for hops and throwing a bunch of hops in the beer regardless of taste. This beer is no exception

not a great representation of the style, and not even a great representation of the bay area. Fine beer for just drinking.

 512 characters

Photo of Talisker
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Generous gift from friend and BA gclarkage, who picked this up at the brewery just a week ago.

Straight ahead rendition of the style. Everything an oatmeal stout should be, nothing more, and maybe just a little less.

Pours an almost-black deep brown, thin dark tan head - what you would expect from the style. A little thin - sort of a cola look around the edges. Straightforward aroma - roasted malt, some chocolate hints, maybe a bit of alcohol.

Taste is wonderfully - again - straightforward. Loads of roast, a nice malt, and that creaminess one associates with oatmeal stouts. Lots of sweetness in the middle, but finishes dry. Texture might be a touch thin, even portery, but that's a small ding.

Definitely a beer you could have several of in an evening. No funny business here - just an excellent oatmeal stout.

 843 characters

Photo of Mark
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was a tad let down by this beer as El Toro makes some great beer. Possibly the ale house I had it in did not do it justice, I'm not sure as of now. Black as night body with a thin tan head, not much lacing in evidence. Nice roasted aroma is evident. Taste was a bit too sweet for my tastes. I prefer my oatmeal stouts in the vein of Young's and here at home Anderson Valley. Sweet overpowered the roast. possibly it didn't help that it was served too cold for a stout, will American pubs ever learn? Not great, but still drinkable.

 533 characters

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to Fartingdog for this via trade

A - Pitch black, huge long lasting tan head

S - espresso, chocolate and hops. Was a bit surprised the hops were that pronounced. reminded me almost of a RIS than an oatmeal stout.

T - similar to the smell but as it warmed to room temp, the oatmeal influence seemed to become a bit more pronouned - and tasty.

M - medium bodied, nicely carbonated.

D - at a warmer temp this beer really shined. Unfortunately I was at half a glass at that point. I would definitely have another one of these again, just a bit warmer than the first one.

 589 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
El Toro Negro Oatmeal Stout from El Toro Brewing Co.
3.74 out of 5 based on 66 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.