Rogue Dead Guy Ale
This is our first memorial beer tasting, in the memory of our co-worker and friend Mike White. I found out after his passing that he was a big fan of the Dead Guy Ale, so on the way back from his funeral some fellow co-workers and I decided to stop at World Market and pick up a few 22 oz bottles. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Our HR Director mentioned before that Mike would occasionally joke around and tell her he had 6 Dead Guys in his kitchen. Classic.
It’s a relatively new beer in the market and the story goes that in the early 90s it was created as a private tap sticker to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead for a restaurant in Portland, Oregon. It stuck and turned into an actual bottled product a few years later. Style-wise it’s considered a Maibock, which is in fact a lager known to be a little bit hoppier and contain a little more alcohol than a traditional bock, and is usually served around the springtime (May Bock, the ideal time to start drinking beer outside). It’s almost like a light version of a double bock. Rogue makes it their own though and throws in their proprietary “PacMan” ale yeast, giving this lager the word ale in the title and confusing those of us who try to classify styles on our web sites as either a lager or an ale.
We used a standard American pint glass for the test. Beer temperature was 48.6 F and the ABV is a nice 6.6%. The initial pour from our 22 oz friend gave us a large 2 inch foamy off-white head that dissipated slowly and left virtually no head lacing. It was a cloudy, almost murky-like amber/orange color. Looks good!
The initial aromas gave us caramel, honey, roasted and toffee malts. We also got some citrus (mostly orange) and some alcohol to the smell. The initial taste gave us most of the same profile as the aromas but added more depth – we detected a nuttiness, coupled with brown sugar, ginger and sherry. It was a treat to find these taste notes and added complexity we weren’t able to pull out of the aroma. The alcohol was not present in the taste like it was the smell. The initial flavor was a moderate sweet with a light bitter and light saltiness to it. The finish duration was average in length and the finish flavor profile changed a little to a light sweet with a moderate bitter and a light to moderate saltiness. There’s a lot of malts in here and a good number of hops to balance it out.
The mouthfeel was dry and we got no noticeable body lacing. The malt to hop scale came in ultimately at balanced, but this was an average measurement. Initially the malt profile stood out and it leaned to the malty side, but through the finish we moved more to the hoppy side. Not too far either way, but enough to notice the slide. Almost like two beers in one!
Dad notes he had an original review of this on 7/19/2005 – close to 3 years ago when we first started getting into the craft brews:
“Catchy name forgettable taste – bad.” My how things change – would have been a 1 or 2 then. Did the beer change? No, I have and this proves it.
Repeatability and drinkability are both there – we would definitely do another. We felt like it had a good balance to it, but not that intangible harmony we find in the upper tier of beers. Though good – it was memorable for sentimental reasons – it didn’t have the “wow” factor that some beers do. We would definitely buy it again though and we love the 22 oz size, which should be mandatory for all beers. You really can’t go wrong with it – $4.99 for the 22 oz bottle is a little pricier than you may expect, but it’s money well spent. The beer evolves as it warms – we suggest you start with it cold and experience it mature as it gets warmer.
The bottle reads: “Gratefully dedicated to the Rogue in each of us” – and to you Mike.
Rogue Dead Guy Ale Rating: 6 out of 10 (?)
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