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Beer Man: Watery body foils Buffalo Sweat's greatness

4:40 PM, May 15, 2013  |  Comments
Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout beer from Tallgrass Brewing Co. in Manhattan, Kansas is 5 percent ABV.
Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout beer from Tallgrass Brewing Co. in Manhattan, Kansas is 5 percent ABV.
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One of my favorite breakfasts growing up was a simple bowl of oatmeal transformed into a delicacy by melting butter and brown sugar into it, then adding a healthy dollop of half and half over the top. It turned gloppy, unappetizing goo into a pleasure to be anticipated.

I quickly took to cream and oatmeal stouts when I first started discovering them years later and have been pleased by the large number of microbreweries offering them.

The most striking feature of Tallgrass' Buffalo Sweat is its silky, creamy mouthfeel, which many beers containing oats also offer. The addition of lactose, or milk sugar, intensifies this characteristic in Buffalo Sweat.

The main flavors are milk chocolate and coffee, with the roast characteristics especially strong, but with a tempered bitterness that comes through mostly at the finish. The "cream" aspect is subdued in the flavor - I was hoping for a bit more. I did like that the lactose did not result in an overly sweet beer - it's a sugar that is non-fermentable and can cause havoc in a flavor profile if too much is used.

What prevents Buffalo Sweat from being a great beer is its thin, watery body. I can think of a number of cream or oatmeal stouts - Mackeson, Watney's, Young's and Samuel Smith, to name a few - that have the flavor and lower alcohol content of Buffalo Sweat, yet still have meat to them. Not chewy or thick by any means, but a nice solid feel in the mouth.

It seems like a small detail to fret over compared with the 5 percent ABV beer's numerous positives, but drinking a beer with a watery body leaves one with a feeling of incompleteness.

Tallgrass beers are sold in 13 states, mostly from north to south in the central United States. I like that the company has a map right on its home page showing the states it supplies. Simply clicking on the map takes you right to its ZIP code-searchable Beer Finder page.

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