Friday, February 24, 2012

Rogue Ales - Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale

The first thing to note about this beer is that the name: Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale and the logo, is taken straight from Voodoo Doughnut, a doughnut shop hailing from Portland, Oregon. They actually created a Bacon Maple Doughnut: the Bacon Maple Bar, sound crazy? How about a beer modelled after the doughnut? Sound even crazier? Well as is already apparent, it has been done. And the brewery responsible: Rogue Ales from Newport, Oregon. Looking back through my previous entries, it would seem that I have yet to review any beer from Rogue, and quite frankly I don't understand why. I can attribute my first "delicious beer" experiences to the Issaquah Brewhouse (owned by Rogue) back when I first started drinking higher quality brews. Since then I have been continually returning because quite simply, they brew good beer. I could rattle off the list of brewing accolades they've received over the years but instead I'll just list a few of my favourite Rogue beers. This includes: Chatoe Dirtoir (Black Lager), Mogul Madness (Winter Seasonal), Captain Sigs Northwestern Ale, Shakespeare Stout, Contraband IPA, and their I2PA. They started brewing back in 1988 and have since become one of the biggest names in the beer industry. In fact, you can find Rogue Ales in 50 States.

In addition to the production of beer, Rogue has expanded their repertoire into the production of spirits. They operate a distillery in which they produce their own Rum, Gin, and Whiskey. They also frequently age their beers in their own liquor barrels. These beers are part of the: John John Ale series. John John refers to the Rogue brewmaster: John Maier and the Rogue master distiller: John Couchot. Even more recently, Rogue has continued to expand their brand by introducing the Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard located in Independence, Oregon. There they operate a 42-acre site upon which they grow seven different aroma hop varieties. And in addition to growing their own hops, they also grow their own barley, which they then malt and use to produce beers featured in the Chatoe Rogue series (a series brewed with ingredients produced entirely on Rogue Farms). This year alone Rogue will brew over 30 different beers; selection and quality is what draws me back.

Now focusing more on the beer at hand tonight: the Bacon Maple Ale. It was in fact brewed in collaboration with Voodoo Doughnut. After looking into the beer, it would seem they had originally planned to use a porter for their base brew, but then decided to opt for the less dominant flavours of a brown ale. After reading the ingredients listed on the side of the bottle I knew I'd be in for a truly smoky surprise. Just how much maple and how much bacon we were in for still remained a mystery, but I knew I'd soon be finding out. So let's get on with the review...

Name: Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale
Category/Style: Smoked Brown Ale
ABV: 5.60%
IBU: 30
OG: Unknown
FG: Unknown
Malt Type(s): Briess Cherrywood Smoked Malt, Weyermann Beechwood Smoked Malt, House-Smoked Hickory Malt, Great Western 2-Row, Munich, C15, C75
Hop Type(s): Perle & Sterling
Yeast Type: Pacman Yeast
Special Additives: Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Pure Maple Flavouring
Bottled: Fall 2011
Bottle Size: 750 mL
Location Purchased: Rogue Ales: Issaquah Brewhouse, Issaquah, Washington, USA

The Pour: Pours a murky golden orange; coppery rusty hues. Head is off-white and creamy. A little retention but not much lacing at all.

The Nose: Dominated by smokey maple. Nice sweet caramel notes. A little toffee character. The meaty beechwood smoke is there as well. Lots of meaty undertones on this one. Smells incredibly sweet, like straight maple syrup on pancakes with a side of smoked meat; is someone cooking breakfast?

The Taste: Flavour is a little malty. Lots of wood and smoke. Maple is all strewn throughout this one, but it's more like the imitation maple kind. I'd also say it's a bit buttery. Carbonation hits up front, but overall rather low on the carb. Body is light to medium. A maple-y residual sweetness lingers in the mouth. Hints of dry smoked meat. A definite campfire aspect to it. A little bitterness at the very end. The finish is definitely dry. Tastes like a liquid form of breakfast...

The Verdict: This is the second time I've had this beer. The first time was because someone else tried it and didn't like it (if that's any indication). The few people I've discussed this beer with have either liked it or thought it was just too far out there for their tastes. I for one rather enjoy the crazy flavour combo. When you crack the bottle you immediately liken the aroma to that of freshly cooked breakfast, whether that be in your own home or at IHOP, the striking smoky, meaty aroma, and maple syrup, will pique your curiosity and conjure images of the breakfast table. Flavourwise I didn't find too much bacon hidden in the depths and layer upon layer of smokiness lent to it by the three types of smoked malt used. The beechwood smoked malt stood out the most, but perhaps that's simply because I've had many other beers that have utilized the same kind. It is definitely meaty, but not necessarily in the bacon-y sense. It is definitely sweet and maple-y but not sticky or overly so. As expected, the smoke and maple are the dominant flavours. Just be careful not to get the beer on your hands, otherwise you'll be smelling like maple for quite some time. Noting that this is in fact a smoked ale and there is maple present in the beer, I'd say that this beer definitely presents us with a smoky maple flavoured beverage. On the other hand, if you're hoping to crack the bottle open and drink liquid bacon then you will be sorely disappointed. Fact of the matter is, brewing a beer with full-on bacon flavour may never be possible and we have the high fat content of bacon to thank for that. If you are however, into trying something far from the norm, or just like smoked ales and want to try something different, then this is probably the beer for you. If you're simply curious because the bottle is pink and you like pink things, then this beer is probably not for you. I also would not recommend this beer for people who might be wanting to sample their first smoked ale. Even friends who enjoy smoked ales did not enjoy this. So tread lightly with this beer and bear in mind it just might be worth it to have a friend around just in case you don't enjoy it as much as you first thought. I found this beer at the Issaquah Brewhouse available for purchase on a bottle-by-bottle basis, so if you've been hearing rumors about it only being available by the case, this not true (at least for this location). If you live near Issaquah, you're in luck! Happy hunting ;]

Thanks for reading!



schultzie51 said...

Not recommended for vegetarians.

schultzie51 said...

Oh, you have to approve these... hence why my comments aren't showing up... well I'm a newb...