Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

19 January, 2016

From the Cellar: Dirty Old Man by Tyranena Brewing Co.

In the process of organizing the beer in my cellar, I came across this one: Tyranena's Dirty Old Man, an imperial rye porter that was aged in rye whiskey barrels. To be honest, I was not sure when this beer was released but I put it aside anyway.

Dirty Old Man is part of the brewery's Brewers Gone Wild series, which features big brews made in limited quantities. It seems that this beer was brewed for the first time in 2008 and that my bottle dates from 2012. I also discovered via the Interwebs that only 40% of the brew was aged in whiskey barrels. This would explain the rather modest 7.9% A.B.V.

Tyranena has been barrel aging since long before it became de rigueur for everybody and their mother to barrel age everything they can get their hands on. (We now have barrel aged coffee, tea, pickles, mustard, maple syrup, honey, et al.) Their Rocky's Revenge, brewed for 12+ years, is a brown ale blended with a portion that has been aged in bourbon barrels. It was probably the first barrel aged beer I had and is extremely tasty.

So how did Dirty Old Man fare over the past few years?

Like any porter, it poured a deep, deep brown that looked black in my glass. A very thin tan head made a very brief appearance. Staring into the beer all I could see was Stygian gloom so I can't say whether or not there were any bubbles inside. It seems quite unlikely, however, given the paucity of foam.

At the time I sampled the beer I was unaware that only a portion of the beer was barrel aged. And so I was surprised when I took a whiff and didn't get drunk off of the fumes. The whiskey was certainly there but I also able to catch a little roasted grain and coffee in there too. On tasting I noticed that these elements were reversed. The malt flavors – coffee, mostly, with some roasted grain and bitter chocolate – were out front leaving the whiskey to bring up the rear. There was just a hint of the rye to be had in the form of a little dry spiciness.

While there were a lot of great flavors here, it was quite obvious that time had taken its toll on Dirty Old Man. It had a syrupy malt sweetness to it that signaled oxidation. I will say, however, that this was one of the smoothest, most velvety beers I've ever tasted that wasn't nitrogenated. Dirty Old Man finished with some lingering bitter chocolate taste and bit of boozy heat.

Despite the wear and tear, my Dirty Old(er) Man wasn't bad. The sweetness was bearable as the great coffee and bitter chocolate malt flavors combined with the booze to offset the effects of age. I am hoping that Tyranena brews this beer again because I would imagine it that it is excellent fresh. Plenty of whiskey flavor but not enough to make it rocket fuel. Instead it melds with the great taste brought by the dark malts. And I'd love to be able to taste the rye grain more.

The current Brewers Gone Wild selection is Benji's Smoked Imperial Porter Brewed With Chipotle Pepper. This beer, on the other hand, is quite fresh having been bottled last week.

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|| Palmer, 5:05 AM


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