Tasting Notes: Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (2018) from Rogue Ales

RogueRollingThunder2018_editedAfter barreling through another awesome week of beer news, we close it out in proper fashion by jotting down some Tasting Notes on Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (2018) from Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon).

Just last week, we hit you with the news that Rogue Ales had officially begun the limited release of its Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (2018).  If you happened to miss that post, Rolling Thunder can basically be summed up as a massive Imperial Stout “brewed with ingredients grown at Rogue Farms, and then ocean aged for nine months in barrels made by hand at Rogue’s Rolling Thunder Barrel Works.”  The house-made Dead Guy Whiskey that once filled those barrels lends notes of whiskey and vanilla to complement the base beer’s dark roasted malts while raspberries – the special ingredient for 2018 – provide a unique thread of lightly tart sweetness.

Rolling Thunder is available now for a limited time in 16.9 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located throughout Rogue’s nationwide distribution footprint.

That should just about catch everyone up on this release, so let’s keep this thing rollin’ and get into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (2018) from Rogue Ales

Appearance: From a bottle hand-numbered as Barrel #4 of 17 & Bottle #249 of 413, Rolling Thunder pours an inky black in color and has just over a finger of creamy, chocolate milk colored foam resting on top.  The beer is completely opaque and remains so when held directly against a light source.  Head retention is good, but the foam does eventually fall to a thin but lasting top cap.  The beer itself does leave a yellow-tinged slick on the glass after each sip, but some spots of lace are just stubborn enough to grab hold sporadically throughout the experience.

Aroma:  The aromatics begin with a defined sherry presence that is loaded with nutty and sweet dark fruit character. This elegant note gracefully transitions into a subtle raspberry tone that is quickly overtaken by a closing barrage of roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla and oak.

Taste:  The barrel grabs your attention first here with a big ol’ pop of vanilla and oaky whiskey.  This shifts into those sweet sherry notes of dark fruit (fig mostly) and molasses.  The raspberries are slightly jammy and pull double duty by bringing both complementary sweetness and a contrasting dose of tartness.  Those bright raspberries refresh the palate just as the beer stoutly settles in with satisfying, decadent notes of caramel, brown sugar, roasted grains, dark chocolate, and fudge studded with pecans.

Mouthfeel:  Full bodied with a moderate carbonation level, this enormous Imperial Stout has a chewy, viscous feel to it.  The beer takes its time on the palate, allowing the flavors to linger and fully develop at their own pace.  Sitting at 14.4%, the ABV certainly has a presence that establishes a building warmth in the throat and belly.  The aftertaste is all vanilla, chocolate and booze-soaked oak.

Final Thoughts:  From the first sip, it is quite evident that Rogue built this year’s Rolling Thunder to come out swingin’ and clear a place for itself among the highest echelon of barrel-aged Imperial Stouts.  It achieves this with an artful composition that sandwiches that raspberry addition between oaky whiskey notes and the base stout’s chocolaty, roasty goodness.  Simply put, this Imperial Stout is pretty much a whiskey-infused raspberry truffle . . . and it is heavenly.

Over the last 30 years, Rogue has amassed a long list of beers that have become standards in the industry, and we confidently predict that this year’s version will add Rolling Thunder to that list.  Yeah . . . it is that good, and you need to get your hands on a bottle or pour of Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (2018) before this Limited Release dries up.  Make it happen.  Prost!

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Rogues Ales Rolls Out Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout 2018

RTIS_2018_Ocean_Aging_Room-5Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon) has announced that it has officially begun the limited release of the 2018 version of Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout.

With every aspect of “the only farm-brewery-distillery-cooperage” being put to use in the creation of this beer, Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout can basically be summed up as an elaborate and highly-involved DIY project for Rogue Ales.  This massive Imperial Stout is “brewed with ingredients grown at Rogue Farms, and then ocean aged for nine months in barrels made by hand at Rogue’s Rolling Thunder Barrel Works.”  The house-made Dead Guy Whiskey that once filled those barrels lends notes of whiskey and vanilla to complement the base beer’s dark roasted malts while raspberries – the special ingredient for 2018 – provide a unique thread of lightly tart sweetness. This all results in a 14.4% ABV Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout that features “deep sherry notes accentuated by hints of raspberries, brown sugar and vanilla, held up against a dark roasted malt backbone with earthy hops.”

“We chose raspberries for 2018 because it seemed like a natural, Willamette Valley-driven progression from last year’s cherries. They add a whole new dimension to the beer through a slight hint of tartness, followed by a deep dark fruit flavor,” said Rogue Innovation Brewer Michael King. “This marries perfectly with the dark roasted malt flavors and vanilla characteristics highlighted from the aging in Oregon Oak.”

Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout 2018 is officially available now and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in hand-numbered 16.9 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Florida, Oregon and throughout the rest of Rogue’s national distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout 2018 from Rogue Ales

Release – Limited, February 2018
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 14.4%
IBUs – 63
Malts – 2-Row, Munich, Hates AC Smoke, Kiln Black, Roast Barley, C40, C60, C75 & Brown malts; Rolled Oats
Hops – Rogue Farms Liberty & Freedom 
Added Ingredients – Brown Sugar, Raspberries & Vanilla
Yeast – Pacman Yeast
Treatment – “Aged for 9 months in hand made Rolling Thunder Barrel Works barrels previously used to age [Rogue’s] Dead Guy Whiskey”
Availability – 16.9 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://finder.rogue.com/

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Rogue Ales Releases 2018 Product Calendar

RogueHop_editedRogue Ales (Newport, Oregon) has come forward this week to unveil a 2018 Product Calendar boasting 13 Year-Round offerings, 9 Seasonals, and 10 Special Releases.

It appears that beer calendar season has caught a second wind as we kick off the week with a look at Rogue Ale’s 2018 Product Calendar.  The brewery’s full calendar is available below, but let’s go over a few highlights real quick.

That should cover most of the new releases, but there are still quite few beers left for you to find on the calendar below.  Give it a good look and settle in for another tasty year of beer from Rogue Ales in 2018.  Prost!

2018 Rogue Beer Calendar update

Tasting Notes: Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout from Rogue Ales

rogueRollingThunderPour1000In recognition of a week that is largely dedicated to big ol’, Barrel-aged Imperial Stouts, we do our part by taking down some Tasting Notes on Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout from Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon).

We first let you know about Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (2017) when it was released back in August, and this is certainly not your run-of-the-mill Barrel-aged Stout.  No, sir.  We are talking about an Imperial Stout that was brewed by Rogue Ales with ingredients grown at Rogue Farms, and then aged in barrels that once held Dead Guy Whiskey distilled by Rogue Spirits.  Oh . . . and those handmade Oregon Oak barrels were coopered at Rogue’s Rolling Thunder Barrel Works.  If your math is the same as ours, all of that amounts to nearly every aspect of this beer having been either handled, influenced, grown, or created by a member of the Rogue family.  That’s something truly special and definitely worth a look.

Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (2017) officially released in August with availability on draft and in 1-liter swing-top bottles.  Quantities were extremely limited at the time of release, but we have heard reports of a few bottles and kegs still floating around out there.

Now that those details are out of the way, what do you say we activate this swing-top, pour a few glasses and get into some Tasting Notes?

Tasting Notes for Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (2017) from Rogue Ales

Appearance:  Rolling Thunder presents itself as a glassy, obsidian black brew wearing a bubbly half finger of caramel-colored foam.  When held to direct light, the beer remains opaque but dark brown tones do push through at the extreme edges of the glass.  The appearance divulges zero hints at what the beer’s carbonation level will be.  As is often the case with higher ABV brews, head retention is weak and falters quickly to a pencil-thin ring.  This Stout is quite slick on the glass and makes it nearly impossible for any lacing to take hold.

Aroma:  The aromatics are surprisingly light in intensity but incredibly delightful.  The nose is first greeted by a waft of booze and sherry before the roasted malts settle in with gentle notes of chocolate, coffee and molasses.  The profile develops further and closes with some earthiness that is accompanied by clean oak and soft vanilla tones.

Taste:  Oh . . . this is nice.  A big pop of dark fruit and distinct wood character hits the tongue first.  This opens to expose notes of sherry and dark cherries that rounds out a robust and lovely dark fruit profile.  That fruit presence is then tempered by tones of coconut, vanilla, honey, dark chocolate and roasted grain.  Sweetness then gives way to earthiness as tobacco and coffee emerges.  The flavor profile finishes with a subtle grace of whiskey.

Mouthfeel:  Rolling Thunder is leaning toward the medium side of full bodied and has a moderate carbonation level.  Although it mostly translates as sweet on the palate, there is a nice balance here and it is not at all cloying.  Just as it should, this Imperial Stout’s 14% ABV brings the heat and constantly reminds you to slow down and sip.  Slick in texture, the beer’s flavors are allowed to linger just long enough.  Aftertaste is a bit of booze, tobacco and vanilla.

Final Thoughts:  With each sip of this beer, it is clear that Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout is more about how the barrel interacts with the beer rather than being just another beer dominated by barrel character.   The fact that this offering was made by “the first brewery-distillery-barrel maker in the country” can be read easily in each pour.  You can distinctly taste and smell the beer’s grain bill and added ingredients, and that oak barrel and the Dead Guy Whiskey ingrained within is here to only support, complement, elevate and contribute to those notes.  Everything here has equal billing.  Everything used has been showcased. This beer’s complexity is deep, and it goes far beyond what one has come to typically expect from a Barrel-aged Stout these days.  Rogue Ales promised that Rolling Thunder would be special, and they absolutely delivered with one hell of an experience.  Prost!

Rogue Ales & Spirits Set to Release 2017 Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout

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Rogue’s Rolling Thunder Barrel Works Master Cooper, Nate Linquist, poses with Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout

Rogue Ales & Spirits (Newport, Oregon) recently announced that it will begin the much-anticipated, limited release of its 2017 Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout later this month.

The story behind Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout all begins with the barrel and Nate Linquist, Master Cooper at Rogue’s Rolling Thunder Barrel Works.  Back in 2015, the folks at Rogue Ales & Spirits got their hands on some “vintage, WWII-era, coopering equipment” and established Rolling Thunder Barrel Works as “the only brewery-distillery-cooperage west of Lynchburg, Tennessee.” With this equipment and a good supply of Oregon Oak, Nate Linquist “assembles, raises, toasts, chars, hoops, cauterizes, sands and brands one barrel a day, all by hand.”  Once assembled, these meticulously crafted barrels go on to hold Dead Guy Whiskey as it matures, and then pull double duty by eventually providing Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout a home as it barrel ages.

Having been “brewed with ingredients grown at Rogue Farms and ocean aged in Dead Guy Whiskey-soaked handmade Oregon Oak barrels coopered at . . . Rolling Thunder Barrel Works”, Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout is a truly special offering because nearly every aspect of this beer has been either handled, influenced, grown, or created by a member of the Rogue family.  This homegrown approach results in a barrel-aged Imperial Stout that “features deep sherry notes accentuated by hints of coconut, cherries, dark fruit and vanilla held up against a dark roasted malt backbone with earthy hops.”  Weighing in at a massive 14% ABV, the 2017 vintage of Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout “is bigger and bolder than the inaugural 2016 release.”

“At first it was a creative challenge,” said General Manager Dharma Tamm, “to see how we could incorporate our brewery, distillery, cooperage and farm into one beer. However, our brewers, distillers, coopers, farmers – and even graphic designers turned it into a quest to create a world class beer that exemplifies the Rogue spirit of challenging the norm and pushing creative boundaries.”

2017 Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout will make its official debut at Rogue public houses starting on Friday, July 21.  This Limited Release offering will then enter distribution on August 1 with availability on draft and in 1-liter swing-top bottles.  Quantities are extremely limited, so keep an eye out for Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Florida, Oregon, California, Washington and throughout the rest of Rogue’s nationwide distribution footprint (of course, this excludes Alabama and any other state where Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout would exceed ABV and container size restrictions).  Prost!

Vital Information for Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout (2017) from Rogue Ales

Release – Limited, official release date set for July 21, 2017
Style – American Imperial Stout
ABV – 14%
Malts – Rogue Farms Dare & Risk Malts; Nate’s Smoke, Brown, Kiln Black, Roasted Barley, C40 & C75 Malts; & Oats
Hops – Rogue Farms Liberty & Freedom
Yeast – Pacman Yeast
Added Ingredients – Brown Sugar, Sweet Dark Cherries, Vanilla & Chocolate
Treatment – Ocean aged in Dead Guy Whiskey-soaked handmade Oregon Oak barrels coopered at Rogue’s Rolling Thunder Barrel Works
Availability – 1-liter swing-top bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.rogue.com/finder/