The English Oatmeal Stout is a very dark, full-bodied, roasty, malty ale with a complementary oatmeal flavor. The sweetness, balance, and oatmeal impression can vary considerably.
Medium brown to black in color. Thick, creamy, persistent tan- to brown-colored head. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear).
Mild roasted grain aromas, generally with a coffee-like character. A light malty sweetness can suggest a coffee-and-cream impression. Fruitiness should be low to medium-high. Diacetyl medium-low to none. Hop aroma medium-low to none, earthy or floral. A light grainy-nutty oatmeal aroma is optional.
Similar to the aroma, with a mild roasted coffee to coffee-and-cream flavor, and low to moderately-high fruitiness. Oats and dark roasted grains provide some flavor complexity; the oats can add a nutty, grainy or earthy flavor. Dark grains can combine with malt sweetness to give the impression of milk chocolate or coffee with cream. Medium hop bitterness with the balance toward malt. Medium-sweet to medium-dry finish. Diacetyl medium-low to none. Hop flavor medium-low to none, typically earthy or floral.
Medium-full to full body, with a smooth, silky, velvety, sometimes an almost oily slickness from the oatmeal. Creamy. Medium to medium-high carbonation.