Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Dave Faries

Drinks: Empyrean's Collapsar Oatmeal Stout


When Empyrean first began pouring their oatmeal stout, reactions amounted to a resounding ‘not bad, but….’

You see, acifionados of the style have become accustomed to muscle-bound fillers, densely flavored and bitter in temperament. Empyrean’s effort drew furrowed brows due to its relatively easy nature and sweet disposition.

The Lincoln-based brewery apparently learned from the early shrugs. Collapsar Oatmeal Stout rises from the glass with soothing hearthstone aromas: charred malt, dark roasted coffee, gritty dust—even a hint of chocolate cream.

Initial impressions suggested a cold night, a warm fire and a hearty, hefty pint.

Early critics complained about Empyrean Collapsar’s watery mouthfeel. Yet the example poured from a tap next door to the brewery was richer, with a granular bite. And the flavor echoed the aromas: bitter coffee, burnt chocolate malt and a trace of scorched earth.

Yeah, it’s difficult to discern anything particularly “oaty,” the pride of age-old English versions. But the once threatening sweetness has been muted by the grain into something more in tune with the grounded, bitter flavor profile.

Perhaps it was a fresh keg. But I would be willing to guess the brewmasters at Empyrean have tweaked, tested and improved what was once a pushover.

Oh, it’s not potent like some old world brands. Empyrean’s Collapsar does, however, show some newfound muscle.


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