Rogue Brewing Co. – Bacon Maple Ale

More than a few months ago I read on another blog about this collaboration between Rogue and Voodoo Doughnuts.  I was immediately interested in giving this beer a try.  I really love a good hearty beer, and I wanted to know what a beer brewed with actual bacon would taste like.  This beer was meant to pay tribute to Voodoo Doughnuts signature doughnut and, therefore, made with bacon and maple.  I was disappointed to learn that it wouldn’t be seeing a countrywide release.  Therefore, I had to go to calling in favors to get this beer in my possession.  The hunt was on!

A few years ago my brother, who is in the Coast Guard, was stationed out in Astoria, Oregon.  Although it is only famous for being the town feature in the movie “The Goonies”, it does have the advantage of having access to these types of limited releases from Rogue.  After bugging my brother for months to see if he could find this bottle, I was finally sent a picture of two bottles via text message.  I finally knew I would be tasting this beer.  My brother managed to transport the bottle back to my parents house for Thanksgiving, and I picked it up when I went to my parents this past week for Christmas.  I brought this bottle with me Christmas eve to a little gathering at my sister’s boyfriend’s house.  He and my father were both interested in giving this bottle a taste, so we passed it all around.

Rogue’s site doesn’t have a whole lot to say about the brewing of this beer.  They state that amongst the litney of different ingredients they use in the recipe, they also manage to use the exact bacon and maple flavoring used in the production of the doughnuts at Voodoo.

As you can see from the picture, the beer pours out a rich auburn color with a slightly orange tint to it.  I was fairly surprised by this.   Obviously the bottle gives no hint to what the liquid will be like on the inside, and the term ale is far to vague to really know either.  I suppose I was thinking this would be a lot darker, but I was surprised to see this color pour out.  Thankfully, I found the Chimay glass in my friend’s cabinet.  It really helps to show the nice amount of fluffy white head that develops on top of the beer.  It does manage to disappear fairly quickly, but a little swirl brings it right back.  There is some really nice lacing that develops on the sides of the glass.  The liquid is really hazy and has a lot of visible carbonation.

The doughnut that inspired a beer

What do you think a beer called bacon maple is going to smell like? The smokey bacon smell is the aspect that comes out the most.  I really thought that the bacon would be a little more subtle, but it seems to be really at the forefront of things.  The maple sweetness is definitely present on the nose as well, but it is a little more of an after thought.  There is a little bit of hickory smokey scent that you can get out of here too.  I like the sweet malts that are all over this beer, but there are some slight hops that seem to be present as well.

The taste reminds me of a mild rauchbier.  I guess a smokey bacon flavor would bring that about; however, the smoke is a little less dominant and the bacon is more prevalent on the taste.  There is a little bit of a short sweet malt introduction.  It has a very bready feel to this introductory taste as well.  An interesting little hint of orangey citrus is there right before the bacon comes in.  The hickory bacon taste is really strong and leads you into the that slight sweet maple finish.  There is a strong smokey flavor that lingers on the palate for the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel may be the most interesting part of the profile.  There is a hefty amount of carbonation on this beer, which helps keep a beer involving bacon and maple very crisp.  I really would have thought this would be a much heavier and more syrupy beer.  Instead, it manages to keep a very crisp flavor throughout.  It is actually slightly refreshing.  The very light smokey bacon finish is really pleasant and not too overpowering, which I find really surprising.  It does linger a little long on the palate, and it kind of gets a little old; however, it is never unpleasant.

This isn’t my favorite beer ever, but I had a lot of fun tracking it down and giving it a try.  It is a really interesting way to combine

If you can read the ingredients

these ingredients to create a really interesting brew.  They could have made this more of a porter or stout, but instead they decided to go with a much lighter hand on these ingredients.  I think that actually shows a lot more skill and finesse overall.  I don’t know if you can find this one anywhere, but my brother managed to find it for me a little over a month ago.  So you might just get lucky like I did.  If nothing else, I’m happy the bottle has joined my trophy case of rare beers I’ve managed to find.  Time to find another beer to hunt down.

Teacher Grade: B+

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2 Comments

  1. Nice review! Although I am not a big fan of Rogue, this beer fascinated me. It’s a pity that I will most likely never try it. Thanks for sharing the experience.

    Cheers!
    G-LO

    • Yeah this one took some doing to get, but I’m really glad I managed to find it. Rogue is a brewery I’ll look at now and then, but I don’t normally buy their stuff. I did more when I started in on craft beer. I wish my brother lived close to Russian River or something instead. Oh Well!


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