Thursday, December 24, 2009

Founders Brewing Co. - Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale

Brewery: Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan
Name:Dirty Bastard Scotch-Style Ale
Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
Origin: Scotland
ABV: 8.5%
Bitterness: 50 IBUs

Dirty Bastard calls itself a Scotch-style Ale, which means it aims to be the strongest level of beer originating in Scotland, a Scotch Ale or Wee Heavy. The Scottish take drinking very seriously, as any single malt scotch drinker will tell you. Dirty Bastard (we at OMG Beer! admit a bias toward beers with bastard in the name) pours a deep garnet, with a creamy tan head reminiscent of cappucino foam. The aroma lacks much of a hop presence, instead evoking toffee, caramel, bittersweet chocolate, and perhaps even almonds and other nuts. There's not a big roasted aroma, like a stout, but beyond chocolate, alcohol, and a nice malty sweetness, there's definitely roasted barley in the flavor, and a hint of smokiness that probably comes from one of the "seven imported malts" Founders use to concoct this brew. It has to be emphasized though, just how subtle that smoky/peaty flavor is. Just right.

In many ways this is the Scotch cousin to a Russian imperial stout, with hops used to keep the beer balanced or even bittersweet like its accompanying chocolate and coffee flavors, but not flowery or citrusy. There's a big dessert/apertif angle to the flavors and alcohol strength. The beer itself isn't too heavy, but you certainly aren't going to drink a lot when it comes in at 8.5% ABV. Excellent after dinner beer, and excellent winter one as well.

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