Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oskar Blues - Deviant Dales

The first time I had Deviant Dales was at a bar in Washington D.C. called Elephant & Castle Pub and they were charging $12 for a pint can.  I was desperate to try it for the first time and so I splurged and got a can.  I did not regret that action.  Today, I am finally reviewing Deviant Dales as part of "/r/beerblogs" community on Reddit.  In a rather neat idea, a bunch of bloggers are reviewing it together and then posting/sharing the results with each other.  Since it was the first time we've tried something like this, the response wasn't exactly overwhelming.  However, such things will be tried again and I look forward to more community interactions and discussions with fellow beer bloggers.  If you're interested in finding more on the Reddit community for beer blogs you can check that out by clicking here.

Also, as a side note Oskar Blues is one of my favorite breweries and I have yet to be disappointed by their offerings.  Their Ten Fidy is one of my favorite stouts ever and their Old Chub scotch ale is out of this world.  If, for some strange reason, you are still not a believer that good things can come in cans, Oskar Blues is out to prove you wrong.  Buy some and try it.  You won't regret it.  But now... on to the Deviant Dale's!  Let's pour!

Aroma 11/12
So many hop aromas at once!  The nose is initiated with a blend of pine and pineapple, but the pineapple soon reveals itself to be a citrus medley full of pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, and some cleansing grassy notes. As you can imagine, it makes for a rather tart hop profile.  Resin enters the picture fashionably late, arrogantly aware of its own importance.  Malts at this point are a muted brown sugar flavor.  However, the sweetness blends so well with the sweet hop aromas and the malt aromas are so distant in this hop-forward beer, that the malts are hard to define even at a proper serving temperature.

Appearance 3/3
This is a B-E-A-U-tiful beer.  When held to light it's a sunset in a glass.  When set on a table it's rusty, dusty orange-red.  When held in front of you, those oranges seem to glow from within, as if there were embers on the very bottom of the glass.  The head was about a finger thick of a dense, orange-pastel colored foam.  It was a great look to top off an already great looking beer!

Flavor 19/20
The first few sips seem dominated by resin in most phases of the beer until the tongue becomes a bit more acclimated and then other flavors become more apparent.  The initial flavors are a rush of resin over a caramel malt that is desperate to be heard.  The primary flavors of the beer slowly fall into place as a big, fat, sweet caramel note shares a park bench with an equally large resin bitter.  The two arrange a really nice, if not precarious, balance with support from some sweet lemon citrus (now appearing caramelized thanks to the malts) and, if held long enough in the mouth, a spicy hop note as well.  Giving this beer a wine-tasters' slurp shifts those flavors into "Ludicrous Speed" and is super intense.  Also, as this beer warms beyond proper serving temp, the peppery hops really come forward and add an interesting tingle to the existing bitter.  Eventually the malts fade away entirely and the hops are left to their own devices to start the finish.  The finish offers little except a reprise of the bitter before the beer slides lazily down the throat, leaving the mouth bitter and the back of the throat slick.

For those not understanding the Ludicrous Speed reference.

Mouthfeel 5/5
The loads of sweet malt let this beer slide over the tongue and provide for no foaming action in the mouth, even when given a slight swish.  The carbonation is minimal, but what is present speaks loudly.  This gives the impression of more carbonation that is actually present, but without disrupting the smooth, heavy mouthfeel.  Well done.  The 8.0% ABV is really only present in a minor way during the finish and otherwise remains unseen.

Overall Impression 10/10
I really like this beer.  It's a chewy, thick, sweet, bitter slap to the tastebuds that leaves you wanting another can.  In fact, I just opened another can.  I wish the hop flavors were a bit stronger in order to offer a bit more complexity to the "caramel vs. resin" battle, but it's still a damn good beer all the same.  This is a big beer that's worth the price of admission.

Total 48/50
Did any of us really doubt the deliciousness that would be present in an "upper echelon" Oskar Blues product?  It has a great aroma, gargantuan flavors, a big smooth body to carry them, and a deceptive ABV. "Well, if it has all those characteristics why didn't you give it a perfect 50," asked both people reading.  Fair question.  Frankly, I thought the aroma was just short of amazing.  It is certainly delicious and definitely delectable, but fell short of me rolling my eyes and uttering an expletive.  Also, as mentioned earlier I felt that the hop flavors were under utilized.  Certainly a few hop flavors are present like pine and citrus, but they are an afterthought compared to the giant bitter and caramel notes.  They've certainly added hops at the beginning and the end of the boil, but it seems that the "flavor" issuance of hops received the short straw.  Or maybe the sweet flavors of hops are being usurped by the sweet malts.  Or maybe the freshness has something to do with it.  These beers were canned on 4-03-2012, making them about 5 months old.  Looks like they're a little older than I thought.  I imagine that given a fresh can, this could be a perfect score.  I'll just have to find a fresh can... just to be sure.  This is definitely a premier IPA and not to be missed.

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