14 March 2010

Rogue Imperial Younger's Special Bitter

Rogue Imperial Younger's Special Bitter (ceramic bottle)
Newport, OR
7.4% ABV

Shana's gone to Chicago for the day on a school-related thing, so I've been left home alone on a day when I don't have to work. It'd be an excellent day to brew, but I didn't really prep ahead of time, and I'm not quite ready for that anyway. I'd go to a movie, but my bank account says no. And I've had enough Bioshock 2 for the day already. So I guess it's time to see what I've got chilling in the cellar.

Oh yeah, that'll do nicely. Found it at a shop in Knoxville when we were down there last summer visiting Corrine, so it's at least a year old, but a bottle like this should see that as a problem. I know almost nothing about this beer, and have never had a good opportunity to try the normal Younger's, so I'm going into this a bit blind.

The bottle gushed a bit when I opened it, and damn do I hate getting beer all over the place. Thankfully I was handy with a glass and this necessitated only a minor bit of cleanup. Still annoying. Anyway, pours dark amber/copper-colored with a one-finger slightly-off-white head that sticks around for awhile. Very hazy, impossible to see all the way through unless you hold it up to a strong light. Looks inviting, and the slight hints of the aroma I've gotten while checking it out are even more so. Strong dry malt body, lots of English-style aromatic hops. Definitely Goldings. (The back of the bottle confirms this and also lists Amarillo and Willamette.) A lot of sweetness, almost a biscuity background. Amazing aroma.

Flavor is amazingly well-balanced for a seven-percent-plus ESB. Strong hops, sure, but an equally strong malt backbone, and the balance makes for an amazingly English-style ESB even while reaching hoppiness and malt boundaries that no respectable English ESB would even consider. The hoppiness and dryness get a little overbearing as I get deeper into the beer, but it's still a really nice version of the style, very much worth a purchase for anyone looking to see what Rogue can do with an Imperial bitter. Maybe I'll pick up one of those silkscreened "normal" Younger's bottles next time I see one.

My overall BA rating: 4.4/5

(I'm considering just leaving BA behind altogether, as this forum is a lot better for me to review beers than theirs these days. Still, it's convenient having everything in one place. Anyone have any thoughts on the matter?)

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