Alley Kat 6 1/2 Bears Oatmeal Export Stout

Reviewed by on March 12, 2014 in Local Heroes Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Alley Kat Brewing Company

  • Origin: Edmonton, AB, CA

  • Rated On: February 28, 2014

  • Best Before: August 24, 2014

  • ABV: 6.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Export Stout

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Alley Kat re-releases their popular Three Bears Oatmeal Stout, but now as a Foreign, or Export stout, a style designation which basically means that traditionally, brewers had to increase the alcohol content to ensure the safety of their products for shipment abroad.  I am a little perplexed by the name here, though, which plays on the base stout’s moniker, converting the new ABV (6.5%) to bears, which is apparently a one-to-one trade value, at current market rates, for yer average bear, or something. See? Confusing.

Anyways, this 650ml bottle pours a solid, light-destroying black, but with some subtle basal red cola edges, upon closer inspection, and three fat fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat creamy beige head, which leaves some attractive webbed foliage lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of well-roasted bready caramel malt, bittersweet milky cocoa powder, hints of astringent smoke, like burning leaves, wet saltine crackers, dry black licorice, and musty, earthy hops. The taste is more bready, toasty caramel malt, wet wheat crackers, a mild lactic sourness, dusty chocolate, understated roasted coffee beans, fading licorice notes, and soft earthy, leafy hops.  The carbonation is lightly applied, and generally just pleasantly frothy, the body a sturdy medium weight, and mostly smooth, with a minor clamminess putting a chink in its otherwise plain creaminess. It finishes on a strong drying trend, the roastiness starting to do the malt in, the other esters folding their hands, and the generic hops holding steady.

A pretty enjoyable and well-made export stout, the admittedly small jump in ABV (from the original Three Bears) not noticeable in the least. Fairly pleasurable to drink, flavourful, and easy on the upper and side palates.  Yet as I work through this bomber, I begin to wonder, more and more – what exactly constitutes a ‘half’ bear, hmmm?

Brady White

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