Rogue Chocolate Stout and Dead Guy Ale Review

beer review

A couple of weeks ago Time Magazine broke a story so powerful that it managed to capture the blogosphere’s attention away from the “Ground Zero Mosque” for almost 13 minutes.  It was a summary of a scientific paper that confirmed what leading hedonists and industry drunkards had long been slurring about.  The paper in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research entitled “Suck It, Teetotalers!” revealed that abstaining from alcohol coincides with a significant increase in mortality rates over drinkers.

Science gets me so hard sometimes.

The propensity of non-drinkers to die early, henceforth known as The NoBuzzKill Effect, was noted whether compared to moderate or heavy drinkers.  Allow that to sink in for a minute.  You can drink like you’re trying to avenge your liver running off with your wife and it’s STILL statistically healthier than not drinking at all.

This changes everything.  A completely blotto weekend in Tijuana could be the new health spa retreat.  Bros Icing Bros would evolve from being a completely insipid fratboy game to an altruistic form of community outreach (that still manages to be insipid). This could the be new face of Big Pharma:

jack daniels pills

Tiny cola capsules sold separately

So why does the Angel of Death opt to ominously hover over total downers?  The study speculates (which is code for “wild-ass guesses validated by wearing a lab coat”) that the social interactions that accompany imbibing are vital for good health.  Drinking correlates with having friends to drink with, meaning there are people in the drinker’s life who care enough to point out their throbbing neck tumor is definitely not getting any smaller.

Or the Reaper is just a big fan of euthanasia.  I applaud your integrity, Grim.

Rogue Chocolate Stout (6.3% ABV)

Rogue Chocolate StoutThis stout is black.  I thought at first it was just a really, really, really dark brown, but upon further consideration I think you can just call this black.  You might look at a beer this dark and wonder how much blacker it could possibly be made, but the answer is none.  None more black.*

The luscious cocoa-powder head on this is spitting out some amazing smells.  There is most certainly dark chocolate in the nose with an earthy truffle smell as well.  This beer just shifted gears from “intriguing” to “fancypants”.

I’m sorry to report that this beer’s taste largely mirrors what it looks like – coffee that’s been warming in a pot for a bit too long.  There’s a mild sweetness that is quickly obliterated by a abrasive, bitter burned flavor.  Imagine a flavor somewhere between burned toast and charred human flesh. I may have just said too much.

The aftertaste is a bit more successful at transmitting a chocolate flavor than the initial onslaught, but espresso notes really take center stage.  The mouthfeel is moderately full, but not as thick as its 10-30W opacity would suggest.

The IBUs (International Bittering Units) measurement of 69 (lol) tell the tale on this one – this chocolate stout has a serious bite to it.  I’ve got no problems with a challenging beer, but I imagine this is not what most people would expect when reaching for a “chocolate stout”.  In fact, I’m on the cusp of declaring shenanigans on Rogue for this one.  They posture that chipper lass on the label as if you could enjoy this beer with all the ease of pounding a YooHoo, when the reality is far darker.  This beer is the liquid embodiment of despair. Only the most weary and hardened are likely to embrace it.  If Rogue had any integrity their label would honestly depict the haggard, embittered target audience for this beer:

joaquin phoenix beer

That’s more like it.  Thanks, Joaquin.

This beer does have some merits and there’s no questioning its richness, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for.

Grade:  C

* This Is Spinal Tap has been released for over 25 years, which means that was technically an homage, not blatant thievery.  It also means I need to get more contemporary cultural references in the rolodex.  Kicking that effort off by referencing a “rolodex” probably isn’t helping much.

Rogue Dead Guy Ale (6.6% ABV)

rogue dead guy aleBefore we get into the meat of this review, is anyone else struck by how the label imagery seems to be the fossilized remains of a pope shitting in a Rogue beer barrel?  I’m no marketing guru, but I’m thinking alienating Catholics is probably not a sound way to expand your demographic.  On the other hand, very few breweries can lay claim to an ingredient of such fecal distinction…

The head on Dead Guy Ale builds like clusters of fish roe, but quickly ebb away.  It has a nectary and malty aroma (very much akin to malt extract actually) and a hazy honey coloration.

In Rogue’s grand tradition of oddly misleading beer labels, this maibock is way more accessible than something hinting at imminent death would suggest. The flavor is light and malty with very little hop presence.  It’s got the sweetness of Hawaiian bread or maybe a biscuit dipped in honey.  It’s not quite as sticky as a champagne, but it definitely embodies that kind of carbonation and dry finish.  Some grassy hops arise in the aftertaste when you wait a minute or two between chugs, if you’re the perverse type that likes to stop drinking for that long.

This beer really deserves credit for pulling off an almost sticky sweetness without leaving the drinker in desperate need of a palate cleanse.  It would probably rock with Thai food, where the sweet and spice are both prominent.  I’d recommend this as a good transition beer for those hooked on mead, a common complaint at my Renaissance Faire Anonymous meetings.

The first step is admitting I am powerless to dressing up like a squire one weekend a month.

Grade: A