Archive for the 'Duck Rabbit' category
Sadly, we have reached the end of this month’s Beer of the Month Club offerings, and this will be the final review for the time being. Frankly, I hate to see it go, as this batch did bring some quality brews; a couple of which I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to easily find. So, kudos to BOMC for running a quality service – good presentation, good beers, and all of the beer itself was in tip-top shape – not a skunked beer in sight. And, in retrospect, even the bottles of beer themselves were remarkably clean and sparkling, which is an extra touch that I wouldn’t have expected. Anyway, it’s on to the Duck Rabbit now. This one I know is a great beer, having drunk it on many occasions. Nevertheless, I’m impressed to see it offered in BOMC this month, as it’s a quality microbrew that isn’t necessarily known nationwide, and I’m glad to know that BOMC is willing to dig into even regional micros for their selections.
This beer pours a deep amber that is only slightly hazy with a thin caramel colored head. The aroma of this is much richer than most ambers – it contains a rich dose of toffee that is the predominant player, although there is also a slight nuttiness that rears its head just a bit. In the mouth, this is still a much richer amber than you’ll typically find. There is a rich sweetness that sticks with the beer from beginning to end as that beer transitions from a rich toffee flavor into a combination of nut and a hint of licorice further back on the tongue. Finally, the beer ends with a warm sweetbread flavor that hangs in the aftertaste for quite some time. Along with these flavors comes a very full mouthfeel that leaves a tad of residue at the back of the month. In short, this beer is something like a rich-man’s Killian’s. It contains the typical characteristics of an amber ale, but adds a density of flavor and decadence that sets it apart. While this won’t take it’s place as a refreshing summer beer, per se, it will serve as a delicious treat when you want to do something a bit more special for the tastebuds. Highly recommended.
Duck Rabbit considers themselves the “Dark Beer Specialists”. It’s a pretty big statement for a smallish NC brewery. However, they tend to live up to the hype with a lot of their more adventurous dark brews like their Scottish Wee Heavy and Baltic Porter, which are terribly delicious. However, I must say I was a bit surprised to see them delve into Barleywine territory. Am I the only person out there who doesn’t really consider a Barleywine Ale a dark beer? I generally consider this to be more an extension of the IIPA or tripel variety – getting up into the really high-grav beers that wouldn’t necessarily fall in with the stouts and porters category. Nevertheless, I must admit that this Barleywine ale is darker in the glass than most any I have yet had the pleasure to drink. So, maybe Duck Rabbit is taking the genre and shoe-horning it into their product line-up by whatever means. If that’s the case, then I have to salute Duck Rabbit, because they have made a delicious (albeit darker than usual) barleywine-style ale.
The pour of this brew, as I mentioned, is quite dark. It still maintains a reddish hue, but borders on the dark brown. It is transparent, meaning that it is apparently filtered before bottling. The aroma of this brew is sharp and spicy – burns the nostrils a bit. There is a hint of anise in here, but otherwise not much else but the spice and alcohol. In the mouth, this is a big and sweet beer. It burns the tongue immediately upon entering the mouth, and this burning sensation seems to last, though diminished, through the rest of the mouth. Along this blazing trail, the beer leaves behind a great rock-candy sweetness tinted with hints of light hop bitternes all down the tongue, finally depositing some of this sugary sweetness at the back of the throat. The beer has a great mouthfeel – the burn, which is pleasant, co-mingles with a silky texture that slides easily through the throat. The sweetness of this makes it deceptively drinkable, though it carries a heavy weight of 11% abv. Personally, I would consider this one of the better offerings from Duck Rabbit. That’s saying a lot, since I really love some of their ‘darker’ varieties. Basically, I’d recommend picking up anything you can find from these guys, whether it be a barleywine ale or a tasty milk stout.
Next on my run of NC brewers reviewed on SevenPack is the Duck Rabbit Baltic Porter. It seems like Duck Rabbit is crazy about limited release beers lately, as I’ve had both the Scotch Wee Heavy Ale and this Baltic Porter from shelves in the last week. Furthermore, I hear through the grapevine that a Barleywine Ale will hit the shelves within a few days (and I can’t wait for that, you guys). These dudes make some pretty serious beers – this one rings in at 9% abv. Since I’m a bit under the weather right now and my tastes are dulled, I deemed it necessary to pick a beer that might be able to fight its way through the muck and actually deliver some flavor. The Baltic Porter was able to do that with some flavor to spare.
This beer pours an extremely dark and thick brown – thicker than Duck Rabbit’s normal porter. Also, the head on this was rather fantastic – it was a purplish-caramel color with various sized bubbles that fairly quickly diminished. Very interesting to see while it stuck around. I can’t really smell very much right now, due to my physical defects. Nevertheless, I pick up a lot of chocolate and dark malts on this. Not very much anise or smoke. In the mouth this is an extremely robust and sweet porter. Again, not much smoke here, and none of the faint bacon-y flavors that you often find in porters. Rather, it’s just a ton of dark malt, some toffee-like flavors, an omnipresent background bitterness, and a mouthfeel that is full and silky. This is one of the most flavorful dark beers I’ve tasted in a while, and it’s almost overwhelming how much they’ve packed into a mouthful of this stuff. I only bought a single small bottle of this because I’m not normally crazy about porters. However, after giving this a try, I may have to go back and pick up a sixer to stash away.
This is, remarkably, the first Duck Rabbit ale reviewed here on Sevenpack. I’m surprised, because these guys have been making great Milk Stouts and Ambers for ages and even have a great Imperial Russian Stout that has been on the market for a while. Furthermore, they’re from just down the road in Farmville, North Carolina. I mean, seriously, what are we thinking?
Anyway, this beer is a good one. I’ve always been a fan of a good Wee Heavy, and this beer tells me that North Carolina has a knack for them (another fabulous Wee Heavy from North Carolina comes from the French Broad Brewery in Asheville). This one pours a translucent mahogany and has a fairly sweet smell to it – sweeter than you might expect. In the mouth, the beer at first seems syrupy sweet with a maple sweetness that is ‘oh so nice’. Fortunately, the syrupy texture doesn’t sit in the mouth, but rinses away quite clean leaving you with a slight sweetness about the middle of the tongue. Overall, very good, and quite high in alcohol, which is also slightly evident in the taste. Highly recommended.