Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rogue American Amber Ale


3.7
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 3, 2010
I’ve been taking my beer-reviewing very seriously for the last year and as much as I’d like to think I’ve learned everything about the essentials by the point, occasionally a beer will come along and completely debunk that notion. Rogue American Amber Ale is a good example of this. From the description it sounds like an Irish Red, but it tastes more like a malty doppelbock or barleywine but with a distinct hop bite. I’ve never had a beer like this before and even though it threw me for a loop, I still liked it.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

This is one of the few Rogue beers that are available in 12oz bottles, which means it pours much smoother than the 22oz bombers. It forms an extremely dark amber/brown color with a murky, hazy body. Tiny little bubbles of carbonation are noticeable. The head is one-finger, tan, and foamy and leaves beautiful lacing on the glass. The aroma is simultaneously malty and hoppy. There’s a bit of a citrus scent but with a rich, almost sugary presence that I usually associate with authentic European malty brews, not an American blonde ale.

TASTE

I honestly did not know what to expect from Rogue American Amber Ale. I was assuming it would be light and crisp, but what I actually got was a seeming cross between a pale ale and a doppelbock. This beer is, for lack of a better term, all over the place, and in this instance I mean that in a good way!

The taste is initially sweet and rich with caramel and butterscotch being very prominent. Then the beer finishes with a distinct hop bite and just a hint of citrus. I’ve experienced both flavors separately, but never together and the result is quite impressive. The palate here is mostly sweet, with a candy apple-like taste. For many drinkers this would suffice, but Rogue decided to crank up the hops to 53 IBUs to give it real balance. It does leave a dry aftertaste, but it’s a small price to pay for an otherwise robust beer.

FINISH

Beers with a strong presence of rich maltiness like this tend to be thick and yet smooth. Rogue American Amber Ale is indeed easy on the palate with a soft mouthfeel, but due to the intensity of the flavor it’s a beer best drank in sips.

BODY

The problem I have with beers of this type is their sheer density. While this beer is only 5.3% ABV, it seems to have a heavier volume than you might think. The mouthfeel, flavor and aftertaste combined with the weight make this beer seem disproportionately heavy. Serious beer drinkers shouldn’t have any problem with it, but I think Joe and Jane Six Pack would.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This could be another incident in which I don’t know what I’m talking about, but those are just semantics and technical details, right? Rogue American Amber Ale is packed full of flavor and not a difficult beer to drink. It’s hard to classify it, but there’s really only one label it needs – GOOD!

Grade: 8/10