For this week’s installment of Tasting Notes, we dig up some Halloween spirit by getting into a bottle of Dead ‘N’ Dead from Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon).
Developed to be the next “evolution” of Rogue Ales’ long-standing Dead Guy Ale, Dead ‘N’ Dead introduces the brewery’s iconic German Maibock-style Ale to the barrels that once held Dead Guy Whiskey, a spirit “distilled from the same . . . malts as . . . Dead Guy Ale.” Taking full advantage of being the only brewery-distillery-cooperage in the U.S., Rogue had their brewers, distillers and coopers work together to carefully barrel age this brew for “several months at the Rogue ocean aging room.” The hard work that went into this treatment pays off as Dead ‘N’ Dead (8.8% ABV) comes together to feature “a strong whiskey nose and added notes of oak and vanilla, with a smooth caramel flavor from the whiskey barrels that balances out Dead Guy Ale’s malty, honey sweetness.”
Dead ‘N’ Dead is available through the end of October in 22 oz. bottles and on draft. You can expect to find this Limited Release brew at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Oregon and throughout the rest of Rogue’s nationwide distribution footprint.
Now that we are all clued in on how this beer was brought to life, let’s raise some Dead ‘N’ Dead and get into these Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Dead ‘N’ Dead from Rogue Ales
Appearance: A careful pour fills the glass with an apricot-hued, honey brown colored beer that it is topped with just over a finger of creamy, slightly off-white foam. When held to direct light, that apricot tone intensifies and the overall color shifts to more of a deep amber. The beer is a touch cloudy but remains mostly clear and displays a dutiful carbonation presence streaming about within. Head retention falters a bit, falling somewhat quickly to a thin – but lasting – ring that dots the glass with an occasional smattering of lace.
Aroma: The base beer is first to greet the nose with notes of bready malt, brown sugar, caramel and honey. The barrel then pushes forward to offer a poised amount of oak and vanilla along with deeper caramel tones. The profile gracefully closes with gentle notes of earth, leather and just a touch of dark fruit.
Taste: The whiskey barrel takes lead here as it brings soft notes of oak, vanilla, coconut and booze. The soul of Dead Guy then rises to support with notes of sweet grain, toasted bread, caramel, honey, and a bit of nuttiness. The earthiness is a bit more subdued here than it was in the aroma, but tones of citrus (from both the hops and whiskey), leather, and dark fruit (mostly a lovely, deep presence of dates) put in some beautiful work to round everything out in the finish.
Mouthfeel: On the heavier side of medium in body with a lighter carbonation than expected, this brew has a creamy texture that glides softly across the palate. The beer works toward balance, but it does end up leaning just a bit in the direction of sweet and boozy. Speaking of boozy, the 8.8% ABV does supply a building warmth in the throat that reminds you that this is indeed a brew meant for sipping. Aftertaste is all oak and dark fruit.
Final Thoughts: All in all, Dead ‘N’ Dead comes together to be a fun and impressive riff on the classic that is Dead Guy Ale. The Dead Guy Whiskey character is right on point, delivering a citrusy whiskey quality that acts as more of a compliment rather than an overwhelming focus. It is there to enhance the base beer, and it does just that by really drawing out and showcasing the malt bill that it shares with Dead Guy Ale. Those sweet notes of bread, honey and caramel act as the strong common thread that stitches Dead ‘N’ Dead together to become a seamless, sip-worthy version of Dead Guy that remains just as satisfying and memorable as the original. Although it comes across as almost effortless, the level of craftsmanship here – like in most Rogue offerings – is remarkable and should be recognized as such. Be sure to check it out if you get the chance. Prost!