Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rogue Shakespeare Stout review

Rogue Shapkespeare StoutAfter a long hiatus, this blog finally turns it's head back towards an old favorite Oregon brewery - Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon. Rogue is well known for making a wide variety of beer including some pretty potent distilled spirits. Seeing how I'm a big stout fan I wanted to try out one of Rogue's darker brews and when I spotted their Rogue Shakespeare Stout on the shelf I picked one up.

Rogue 22oz bottles are well known for that familiar Rogue guy image and on this bottle we see him sporting a Three Musketeers-like hat holding a mug of stout beer. This beer's claim to fame is that it previously won as a World Champion Stout so already this beer has some added appeal.

Ingredients: Rogue was kind enough to list their ingredients right on the bottle. Shakespeare Stout is made with NW Harrington and Klages malts, Crystal 13-165 and Beeston Chocolate malts, some rolled oats and roasted barley. Add to that a bunch of Cascade hops and fermented with their famous Pacman yeast.

Normally, I wouldn't expect to find Cascade hops in a stout but thought that might add a nice twist to this brand of dark beer. Shakespeare Stout weighs in at 6.0% ABV and has an IBU bitterness rating of 69 which is fairly decent for a stout.

Appearance: Rogue Shakespeare Stout pours extremely dark with hardly any lighter color around the edges. Normally, I'd expect to see a lot of ruby or mahogany on the edges of the glass but this beer gave very little of that. Served cold, this beer poured with a modest 2 finger brown head that quickly melted.

When swirled, there was a bit of lacing that quickly slid down the glass and didn't stick. Within a minute there was little to no head left.

There was a modest amount of carbonation in this beer. The cap came off with a very noticeable hiss so I knew there was some nice carbonation action going on. Again, you don't normally see much nucleation in a stout but there was a bit more than usual here.

Aroma: I immediately picked up on a couple things with this beer: Roast malt and a hint of chocolate. I couldn't pick up on any alcohol heat here but later as the beer warmed I could start picking up some of the citrus nose from the Cascade hops. Almost like an unsweetened chocolate covered orange but a bit more roasty. As with most dark beers, you need to let the beer warm up a bit for the full spectrum of aromas to come out.

Mouthfeel: I got a bit of a surprise in my mouth on the first several sips. My mouth watered a lot when the beer hit my tongue. This may be due to the rolled oats in this beer. I've had other beers do this and it changes the complexity of the beer completely. Stouts tend to be full bodied and somewhat "chewy" but due to the massive amount of salivation going on, it turned this stout into a medium bodied brew.

The roasted malts quickly coated my tongue. It was creamy, yet slippery due to my mouth watering. It was both a dry effect but wetting at the same time. Shakespeare stout was still creamy smooth but in a different way.

Taste: Here is where I noticed a big difference. I'm used to drinking imperial stouts with a big over the top maltiness and alcohol bite. You don't get that with a normal stout. Rogue Shakespeare Stout filled my mouth with a lot of roast malt and bitterness. There was not much sweetness in this beer at all. In fact the chocolate taste I picked up was more like unsweetened chocolate.

There was also a bit of coffee roast present and on the back end I picked up on the mild citrus hop, especially later as the beer warmed up. The massive salivation going on left a slight watery end yet bitter.

Roast malts definitely dominate this drink. I could detect a slight smokiness to this beer on the back end as well.

Overall: Regular stouts are more quickly drinkable than their imperial cousins and Rogue's brew was a good drinker. It's not a session beer by any means but you don't have to slowly sip this one either.

This beer screams to be paired with food due to it's dryness. I could see having one of these with BBQ'ed meat or even with a nice chocolaty dessert. You need to add a bit of sweetness in the food when you pair this as the stout itself is nearly void of any sweetness. I happened to have a small piece of chocolate cake that I finished the end of the bottle with and it matched perfectly.

By itself, Rogue Shakespeare Stout is a fine example of a regular stout. It's made even better with food. If I had to name this beer myself, I'd call it: "Dry Roast Goodness". Dry, roasty and darn good. Nice job Rogue.

Related articles:
- Rogue Dead Guy Ale review.
- Samuel Adams Cream Stout review.
- Mountain Sun celebrates Stout Month (2009).
- Young's Double Chocolate Stout review.

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