Reviewed: Mother Earth Barrel Aged Imperial Salted Caramel Oatmeal Stout
Official description: Jet black, full-bodied, & creamy with a rich caramel sweetness balanced by a salty finish & oaky undertones. The malt and caramel melanoidins are accompanied by burnt sugar, chocolate, and roasted coffee flavors, with dark fruit dancing in the background reminiscent of over-ripe figs and cherries. Contains lactose.
Mother Earth Brew Co. – Mother Earth Barrel Aged 4Seasons Imperial Salted Caramel Oatmeal Stout – 16oz can served in Rastal Harmony glass – 11.2% ABV
4Seasons is a series of special release beers from Mother Earth Brew Co (Vista, CA; Nampa, ID). You’ll see them sometimes listed as “Four Seasons of Mother Earth” followed by the season (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall). That’s pretty useful for organizing these special releases in a database like Untappd or RateBeer, but isn’t very useful to the consumer. For example, searching for “Mother Earth caramel oatmeal stout” on either database gives you nothing. Yikes. Mother Earth has recently rebranded this series as “4Seasons” with nifty looking graphics to match.
Cracking open the 16oz can, this version of 4Seasons is clear cola brown in color as it pours but looks opaque black once in the glass. A luxurious head of beige foam builds up with little coaxing and sticks around for more than two minutes before collapsing. Bringing up the glass, there’s an impressive aroma of toasted marshmallows, coconut cream truffles, and butterscotch hard candies. After the initial few sips, I’m immediately stunned that this beer isn’t sticky sweet like most other pastry stouts. It’s nicely bitter with dark chocolate and mint that balance the sweet confectionary flavors at the front of the tongue. Thanks to the oatmeal addition, the mouthfeel is silky and creamy. In the finish, 4Seasons is perfectly neutral with firm background bitterness nullifying any potential stickiness. The end result is one of the best beers I’ve tried in this segment.
Perceived Specs for Mother Earth Barrel Aged 4Seasons Imperial Salted Caramel Oatmeal Stout
I’m normally not a fan of pastry stouts given their attempt to pair sugar with more sugar. But Mother Earth was able to capture an incredible depth of rich dessert flavors in a stout that never felt sticky, syrupy, or cloyingly sweet. That’s really difficult to do. Indeed, some of the country’s most hyped breweries fail to do this with their famed pastry stouts.
VERDICT: 94 pts (OUTSTANDING)
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