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The Beer Circle » Beer, Budget, Old Dominion Brewing, Stout » Budget: Dominion Oak Barrel Stout

Budget: Dominion Oak Barrel Stout

In the wake of my recent visit to the Tröegs Brewing Company, I wanted to take a look at a beer that’s been a budget staple of mine for quite some time.  Old Dominion‘s Oak Barrel Stout is a staple of the Old Dominion line of beers, and not difficult to find on tap in the areas it’s sold.  Being a fan of this style, I always try to have some on hand.

Variety packs by Old Dominion are all over the place in Northern Virginia.  I never stumbled across these during my time in Pennsylvania, but they seem to be in virtually every grocery store down here.  Being a budget-conscious beer drinker, I like to get the largest variety of beer for my money, so I scoop up these variety packs like it’s nobody’s business.  Little did I know that when I opened up an Old Dominion variety pack for the first time, I’d be greeted by something that tastes far more expensive than it is.

Dominion Oak Barrel Stout
Pours opaque black, with a two-finger tan head. Little lacing is present on the way down, but this beer looks as it should.
Overt notes of chocolate, coffee, and - you guessed it - oak are the first to hit the nose. As the beer warms a bit, slighter notes of smoke, and sweet vanilla hit the nose. This smells delightful.
Taste here is very similar to what you'd expect based on the aroma. Initially, the dark malty flavors one expects from a stout such as this are present - that is, the chocolate, coffee, and woody flavors. The beer finishes nicely with the vanilla bean, and just a slight touch of booze on the end - but certainly less than one gets with more expensive, higher-ABV stouts.
This one is actually rather medium-light in mouthfeel. Not heavy or thick as many of these types of beers can tend to be, but certainly heavier than what you'd find in, say, a Guinness.
This is where this beer truly shines. While certainly not the best stout you'll find anywhere, the most pervasive thought in my head as I enjoy this beer is simply that it tastes like something far more expensive than it is. This is definitely a beer to keep on hand for when you're in the mood, and it won't cost you too much. Can often be found for just over a buck a bottle if bought as a 12-pack.
Overall, Dominion Oak Barrel Stout exhibits a very good level of complexity for a beer at this price point. Because of its low price point and inoffensive nature, I find I often keep this one on hand as an example to new beer drinkers of what a 'dark' beer can be. They're often pleasantly surprised, and for me, it often satisfies that stout craving on a cold November night without breaking the bank. Highly recommended.
Dominion Oak Barrel Stout

Beer Stats
Style: Stout
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 5.20%
BA Score: 89
RB Score: 96

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Written by Garrett Miller

Garrett brings a somewhat different perspective on beer to the table. While always thrilled to try any new, exotic brew that finds itself his way, Garrett finds that he's often quite satisfied with reliable, common craft choices. As such, Garrett is a fan of trying and reviewing these (admittedly less expensive) beers, and using them to introduce the exciting, flavorful world of craft beer to those not-yet-acquainted. Garrett’s favorite styles are IPAs and bourbon stouts, but won’t turn his nose up at anything. Find Garrett Miller on Google Plus

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