Wednesday, February 25, 2009

99 Bottles of Beer on the Blog: Double Dead Guy Ale

Rogue Brewery is one of the world's great breweries, set in the great Northwest part of the US. Somehow, I've failed to review any of their innovative and well-crafted brews until this evening. The bottle that grabbed my attention and lured me to drop $11 for a bright red 750 milliliter bottle labeled "Double Dead Guy".

First, a word about Dead Guy ale, one of my top 10 beers. It's a malty Maibock, flawlessly crafted to warm a lucky drinker with malt, malt, malt and just enough hops to make the malt waltz instead of sinking into syrupy sweetness. If you haven't tried it, go get some and prepare to fall in love.

So, when I saw "Double Dead Guy", I simply had to try it. My rationalization was that it was no more than a decent bottle of wine, and a great beer experience beats an okay wine experience any day. Feel free to use this rationalization anytime you need it. It can justify some indulgent purchases, and if you practice, you can deliver it with a straight face.

When I popped the cap off the bottle, a malt aroma reached me even before I poured it. I knew I was in for a serious bock ride. Pouring it into a glass, the light tan head bounded to the top of the glass and the aroma introduced some piney American hops to balance the malt smell. It appeared cloudy as I was pouring it, but showed up clear in the glass. Some protein rich beers can experience something called "chill haze" when they are a bit on the cold side, and that must have been what I saw, because the beer appeared perfectly clear after it had warmed for just a couple minutes.

There's no style to compare this beer against. Rogue lists it as a "strong ale", which is a category but not a style under BJCP Guidelines. Rogue often produces great beers that defy traditional styles, and this is another one of those. It remains to be seen, though, whether the qualities of Double Dead Guy get imitated often enough to create a new style.

The taste is more malt grain than sweet - with a solid backing of bittering hops to keep it from being too sweet. The malt flavor melts into a honey note as the beer warms, but the impression after swallowing is a zesty hop bitterness. It's not nearly as thick or as sweet as you expect when you first take a sip.

Tipping the scales at 9% ABV, this is a big complex brew. There's a touch of roastiness in the malt - there's a caramel chewiness as well. I won't claim that it is a bargain, but it is a heck of a great beer, and I'm glad I splurged on it.

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Blogger craig said...

Quick question,
Is there anywhere around here that you can find Henry Weinhard's?

2/25/2009 10:34 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I don't think I've seen it anywhere, though maybe a commenter will offer better news for you.

2/25/2009 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why in God's name would somebody ask about a crap beer like Henry Weinhard's in an article discussing God's gift to beers (Double Dead Guy Ale)???

4/23/2009 11:18 PM  

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