Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Beer Review: Tyranena Dirty Old Man

The subtitle on this bad boy is a mouthful: Imperial Rye Porter Aged In Rye Whiskey Barrels. It is the latest Brewers Gone Wild series (or is the Paradise by the Dashboard Light the latest?) that seems to have settled into cold-weather porters and warm-weather IPAs. This is a list of the last few BGW:
Who's Your Daddy? Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter
Bitter Woman from Hell Extra India Pale Ale
HopWhore Imperial India Pale Ale
Spank Me Baby! Barley Wine-Style Ale
The Devil Made Me Do It! Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Porter
High Class Broad Imperial Brown Ale Aged in Brandy Barrels
Stickin' It To The Man Extra India Pale Ale
Re-release of HopWhore Imperial India Pale Ale
Dirty Old Man Imperial Rye Porter Aged in Rye Barrels
Devil Over A Barrel Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Porter Aged in Bourbon Barrels
Scurvy IPA brewed with Orange Peel (Now our Early Summer Seasonal)
Re-release of HopWhore Imperial India Pale Ale
Re-release of Devil Made Me Do It! Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Porter
13 beers, 5 porters (one brown ale), and 6 IPAs. And a barleywine. I suppose Central Waters kind of has a corner on the stout market and Capital's carving out a niche in the dopplebock market. Tyranena is claiming porters and IPAs as theirs. And, a damn fine job of it they've been doing. I love that porters, like stouts, are so versatile. No quite so huge as a stout, porters maintain a sessionability that imperial stouts frankly just don't have (but aren't intended to have). Though, despite the semantic differences, can someone really explain the differences between an imperial brown and a porter, or an imperial porter and a stout?

Nomenclature aside, I'm excited about the recent obsession with Rye. I love rye beers. Bear Republic's rye IIPA, the Hop Rod Rye is one of my favorite beers. Founders also makes both a Black Rye and a Red Rye. Rye provides a dry, grainy, earthy flavor that almost seems gritty or musty. Some people really don't like it, but me and rye get along well. And rye're speakin' my language - good stuff. Good stuff indeed.

So, a rye porter aged in rye whiskey barrels? Yeah, I'm all over that like a fly on shit. And the new (wasn't in stores last week at least, but should be coming soon) Rye IIPA, RyePA?

Like all of the Brewers Gone Wild series, a hand-drawn (by Rob?) stick figure of a person with a goatee adorns the label. This one, hunched over with wild hair and a cane, implores the drinker: "Gimme a sponge bath!" Ah. Childish humor about fondling naked old men. Gotta love it.

Tyranena Dirty Old Man (BA: A-; RB: 98)
Appearance: pours somewhat oily, but a thin, solid line of brown head; a dark brown or black body with mahogany coloration at the edges
Aroma: a mix of different aromas at once sweet and whiskey-like and then roasty and bread-like; a slight chocolatiness as it warms up; I'm trying to pick up some of the hops, but either I can't figure it out or they are hiding in one of the other aromas
Flavor: the flavors continue the complexity of the aroma with a sometimes whiskey, sometimes rye, sometimes roasty, sometimes malty, always heavy flavor; the rye makes this beer, a big, malty beer, seem drier than it is which is a pleasant remixer and re-balancer of the flavors going on here.
Body: a long, alcoholic finish that retains the rye and the whiskey flavors and a hoppy bitterness sneaks in there somewhere; the body itself is quite dense, if not completely full-bodied
Drinkability: It would be hard to drink too many of these at one time, it is not particularly sessionable - but, to throw this into the mix every now and then seems the perfect fate for this four-pack; for an air-conditioned dinner it wouldn't really be too out of place at a summer supper table (though I'm not sure I'd bring it to a picnic)
Summary: Another win for Tyranena in a Brewers Gone Wild series that is beginning to really bloom for Rob Larson, head brewer there. I'll be curious to see how long he stays on the Porter/IPA kick, and, really, the only thing missing from this series is some indication of order or release date. I have a few of these in my cellar and I'll be damned if I can remember the order in which they were produced or how long they've been in there.

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