Beer Review 0463: Great Divide Oatmeal Yeti Imperial Stout

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Great Divide have introduced a new member to the Yeti Imperial Stout clan for 2013 — Oatmeal Yeti, brewed with rolled oats and a small amount of raisins. Oatmeal Yeti replaces Belgian-Style Yeti (88 points), retired in 2012.

Great Divide brews out of Denver, Colorado, and has been producing beer since 1994. They have enjoyed success by winning gold metals at various beer festivals across the United States. The Yeti beers are some of their highest rated, and I’ve been lucky enough to try them all:

Yeti Imperial Stout, 91 points
Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, 94 points
Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, 94 points
Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, 96 points
Belgian-Style Yeti Imperial Stout, 88 points (retired)

As you can see, nearly all the Yeti brews have high marks. While the regular Yeti is year-round, all the variants are seasonal offerings — Oatmeal Yeti makes an appearance each July. Coming in at 9.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), Great Divide uses the words ROUNDED and LEGENDARY to describe Oatmeal Yeti. And if this version is like all the others, the drinker will find Yeti to be an imposing yet gentle giant.

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Allowing Oatmeal Yeti to escape from the bottle issues up a small, dark tan head that is composed of soapy and large bubbles. It fades quickly, which is expected for a high alcohol beer. In true Imperial Stout style, this one is pitch black, with only a tiny amount of a light brown cola edge when the glass is held to light. It’s opaque, so I can’t really tell you about the body, but it doesn’t appear to have any significant particles or sediment. Lacing is good, leaving thin weepy sheets in the wake of each sip.

On the nose, this one doesn’t punch you in the face; instead, you get a very nuanced but still heavily malted beer. Sweet dark chocolate and coffee provide a base layer for a big presence of dark fruit — like some Imperial Stouts, this one has a grape-jammy like aroma, along with more classic dark fruits like prune and raisin. It’s a sweet beer that has just a touch of fruity hops. Not bold yet still expressive, it’s quite nice and the aroma only seems to get deeper as it warms.

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Tasting, and the big flavors come knocking instantly — lots of dark fruit and dark chocolate, with a dash of black coffee. Raisin and grape flavors come to the front, along with highly roasted malts that actually give a pretty stiff wave of bitterness before settling down into more of a bittersweet vibe with a finish of burnt toast. The coffee and dark chocolate flavors linger through the long finish, concluding with a mild but detectable alcohol note. Oatmeal Yeti is full-bodied, with a very thick and creamy mouthfeel, but not cloying.

I found the new Yeti quite similar to the regular, year-round volume, just with an enhanced mouthfeel and an amping up of dark fruits. The other thing that stood out was that Oatmeal Yeti seemed to be a bit hot in the alcohol department; I seem to remember the other Yeti to be a little more delicate in this area, but I don’t think it detracts from the beer — it lets you know Yeti is a force to be reckoned with. Nice stuff. Consider me a Yeti hunter.

Great Divide Oatmeal Yeti Imperial Stout, 92 points. Price: $9.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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