Style: Oatmeal Stout
From: Chelsea, MA
Brewer’s Note: “The Wigglesworth Traditional Ale Series is a special line of bottle conditioned English Ales from Mystic Brewery. The Wigglesworth family settled in the Mystic Valley in 1631 and went on to become prominent Boston based East India Traders in the 1800’s. The series is a special project by our resident Englishmen and master brewer. Alstair Hewitt to bring back classic examples of British Beer styles. As with all Mystic Brewery beers, yeast, is used to condition and carbonate the beer whether on cask, keg, or in the bottles in the tradition of real ale. Cheers!”
Surprisingly, this is my first beer review from Mystic, who are out of Boston (Chelsea, actually) and are brewing some beautiful saisons. Mystic, from what I hear, is run by a biologist that is trying to develop truly New England yeasts, and is doing some beautiful things with the fermentation process. The brewery is also said to be collecting many famous home brewers, and hiring them as full-time brewers. Alstair Hewitt is one of these men, and apparently he is also British, and apparently that means Mystic will be having him create traditionally fermented beers from his mother country. It’s strange that I start my Mystic reviews with an oatmeal stout; you should all really try their saisons. I’ll be reviewing those eventually. I would also like to note that their brett aged Descendant Suffolk ale was one of my highlights from Extreme Beerfest two weekends ago (totally forgot to write a post about that). Needless to say, I’ll be visiting Mystic soon for growlers and what-not, and I will be letting you all know a lot more about this awesome brewery and the cool things they are doing.
This particular beer’s label is beautifully classic and simple. I love the little Mystic label at the top, and I love the font choice chosen. I think I’m just a sucker for old and worn looking fonts, but I really don’t care, they look awesome. The ugly stuff on the sides (particularly the barcode) is my biggest complaint, as it takes away from the black simplicity of the rest of the label. That being said, the color scheme is lovely, the simplicity and text heaviness of the label is beautiful, and overall this label is worthy of shelving and scrapbooking. Great label.
The beer pours properly dark with a slight reddish tint, but pretty much no head to speak of, which is odd… What few bubbles that can be seen appear to be khaki in color, small and tightly knit. The beer’s body is undiscernible to eye in the light. On the nose, the beer smells of nice oaty roast with touches of chocolate and coffee and a touch of toffee. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet with a nice balancing bitter roast and the faintest touch of acidity wetting the tongue. In flavor, the beer begins with nutty oats which slowly roast in the mouth turning watery just briefly before building into sweet roasted coffee with touches of toffee, milk chocolate, and even a touch of caramel. The finish is made of beautiful medium roast coffee with nice oaty nuances. The aftertaste is a continuation of the finish, slowly tapering away, but keeping a nice roasty flavor on the tongue. In the mouth, the beer feels medium in body with a nice prickle from the carbonation that gets a little sharp. The beer feels velvety and chewy in the mouth, and leaves the mouth with a sheen of spittle that begs for more beer. Overall, this is a delicious oatmeal stout. In fact, this is probably my favorite straight oatmeal stout. It has beautiful classic stout nuances in flavor, and doesn’t try to be anything fancy, but through its simplicity it is elegant and delightfully tasty. My one complaint would be the slight wateriness in the middle of the flavor, but I tend to get that with most single stouts, so I think it is just a symptom of drinking too many big stouts. I also was a little disappointed with my bottle’s carbonation level, particularly in the realm of a head size (i.e. there was no head). I suspect that this was due to my particular bottle’s natural carbonation process, but I can’t be sure. This beer, however, is beautifully simple yet nuanced on the tongue. Try this beer.