Thursday, November 14, 2013

Three Heads Loopy Oatmeal Red Ale

2.9
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (1006) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 14, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. There was no freshness date. It cost $3.89 ($0.32 per ounce).

Appearance: Slightly hazy shade of amber/orange (not red). Extremely effervescent body, but pours to a rather average size, ivory, frothy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Strong hop presence (mostly citrus), but a distinct phenolic presence of plastic or medical sanitizer.

Taste: This may not be an entirely fair review since I believe the Loopy Oatmeal Red Ale has been retired and the bottle I’m drinking is probably old. But since there’s no freshness date on it I won’t speculate and will just review what I have. It’s not that this is a terrible beer, just a simplistic, repetitive one. Plenty of hop character for sure, but not much of anything else.

Though billed as a red ale, this is more appropriately classified as an amber (though most beer geeks don’t consider them to be mutually exclusive styles anyway). A strong presence of spicy, almost European-style hops throughout the entire body. They create for an intense dry bitterness and linger on the tongue for quite a while. Another thing that’s missing is the oatmeal. That tends to be an ingredient used in stouts, so I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be doing for this brew. In fact, the malt and grain bill as a whole is obscured here. Much like the nose, there’s some phenolic flavors on the finish - nothing too intense, but a little annoying and distracting. This at least avoids the pratfall so many ambers fall into of being boring beers, but it needs some improvement to be a truly good one.

Drinkability: At 6.6% ABV and 64 IBUs, Loopy Oatmeal Red Ale drinks like a typical IPA. There’s plenty of carbonation to the mouthfeel, and it’s surprisingly crisp and spastic rather than smooth. The hops linger and dry out the tongue, though not to the point of being intolerable. Probably a great beer to have with a spicy meal, but on its own it’s rather forgettable. 
Grade: 4/10