Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rogue Ales - Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale

If you're familiar with the city of Portland, you probably know about their infamous Voodoo Doughnut shop. If you haven't heard of them, I highly recommend checking out their menu here. Voodoo Doughnut has some crazy, crazy doughnuts, but the one that really put them on the map was their Bacon Maple Bar - a glazed maple bar with strips of bacon on the top. I was lucky enough to try one on my last trip to Portland and I can attest to it's tastiness.

Late last year, Rogue announced that they were using Voodoo Doughnut as an inspiration for their newest creation: Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale. At first, I was really excited. Then the news hit that it was being brewed for distribution in Portland only and that there was a 1 case minimum if you wanted to buy it. My friend, Beau, and I briefly debated whether it was worth it to split a case and ultimately decided it was too much money to spend on a beer that we didn't really know much about. What if it was terrible? So I reluctantly passed on what I thought was my one chance to try Bacon Maple Ale and waited for the initial reviews to trickle in. Soon, the reviews began to show up and the news wasn't good. The consensus seemed to be that the beer was a failed experiment. After Beau moved to Portland, he was able to find a bottle and his take, too, was that it was an awful, awful beer. Now I kind of wanted to try it even more, if for no other reason than to see how bad it could be. Eventually, bottles began to trickle into bottleshops down here (and they were easy to spot too. Look at that thing!) Finally, I gave in and brought one home.

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale pours a clear copper color with a thin, sand-colored head. I really expected this beer to be darker for some reason, but it looked harmless enough so I brought it to my nose and took a sniff. Yikes. The first thing I smelled was syrup soaked pancakes. But not just any syrup soaked pancakes: This smelled exactly like IHOP pancakes (think dense, stomach sticking, camping pancakes) soaked in Log Cabin syrup. This wasn't the smell of high quality maple syrup, but the artificially sweetened stuff that I used to drink like water as a kid whenever my mom would let me near it. Behind the pancake smell were heavy notes of molasses, smoked wood and burnt bacon fat.

After smelling this, I wasn't exactly in a rush to see what it tasted like. Eventually, I went for it and it was (not surprisingly) gross. The pancake flavor hits first, but instead of the maple syrup soaked pancakes I got in the smell, this was more like pancakes soaked in alcohol. Big waves of charred malt follow along with some liquid smoke and maybe just a touch of glazed doughnut sweetness. The finish brings a lot more smoke and leaves a bit of a peaty dryness on the tongue. The mouthfeel felt way light for all the heavy flavors this beer presents and made this thing an absolute beast to finish. I think that the flavors in this beer are far more suited to a stout or porter than whatever the base beer in this is. Overall, this (somehow) isn't the worst beer I've had, but it's very, very far up there. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

Final Grade: D-

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 38

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