09/13/2010 12:42 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tasting Oyster Stouts

Oyster stouts are exactly what they sound like: brewers shuck in five or six bivalves per barrel during the brewing process. By the time the beer is done, the oysters have completely dissolved, leaving behind just the faintest hint of salinity. Beware, though: Some brewers, like Marston's, don't actually use oysters in their oyster stouts; the name is simply to suggest an appropriate accompaniment. Still others, like Massachusetts's Cape Ann Brewing, will use shells, but not the oysters themselves, to balance the mineral content of their water.

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