Originally Posted by zachattack
Next time you're in the store, I'd suggest munching on some of the whole grains. It'll give you a great idea of the flavor.
I'm not sure what brands my LHBS stocks, but MO is much more flavorful than standard pale malt, and IME the ESB malt is somewhere in between. There will be a difference, but probably not huge in a stout since the roasted grains will dominate the flavor.
That's what I figured. I Know what the difference between the two grains is like, and if I had to guess, then the pale will lead to a drier beer that's not quite as full. Since half the batch is getting a flavour addition in the secondary, I don't think it would be so bad. The specialty malts are 24oz oat flakes, 14oz Crystal 60L, 12oz Chocolate and 8oz of roasted barley, so they will definitely dominate.
The guy at the store was saying that the Gambrinus ESB is a good substitute for MO, but not having access to MO, I wouldn't know.
I'll brew it up, at the end of the day, I have beer, so it's not that bad