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XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
XS Imperial Younger's Special BitterXS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

147 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 147
Hads: 217
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 11.28%
Wants: 14
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  7.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: klewis on 01-15-2007

8 Ingredients:
Malts: 2-row pale and Crystal.
Hops: Willamette, Kent Golding
and Amarillo
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

52 IBU
76 AA
35º Lovibond
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 147 | Hads: 217
Photo of Sammy
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Rogue on tap, at Transit Pizza Plant. Yellow body with soapy head, and neutral aroma, though some alcohol present. Taste notes of yeast, wheat. Decent bitterness, but more on sweet side and on balance than another overhopped beer. Only knew the style after the fact. Another style bender. Recommended.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and some fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with a fruity and tea-like flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. There is a bit of an astringent and drying quality of the beer in the mouth with each sip. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but nothing too extreme or strong going on here. I'm not too sure why this particular beer is sold in the small 7 oz. bottle size.

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Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is cloudy copper in color and has lots of particles floating in suspension and a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that slowly died down and left wispy patterns of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel and toasted malts plus citrus hops in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell, except that the malty flavors are a bit stronger with additional notes of fruit and toffee; the hops help to balance off the malty flavors from being overpowering and contribute some citrus flavors and hints of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Drinking this beer is a breeze because there’s an excellent balance between the malts and the hops and there are no traces of alcohol perceptible in the taste considering its strength.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

an angry little 7oz bottle keenly stolen from global brews or international taphouse (cant remember which) in downtown st. loius, later enjoed in lake champlain, new york. pours a mean and viscious looking caramel color with a ton of body and major sediment. small tan head rests precariously on top. smells like a huge english brew, tons of malt, earthy and sweet, on top of a very bitter brew, some kent goldings in here for effect as well i suspect. flavor is similar, less complex than you kinf of want it to be, with just an elementary level of curiosity inspired. oddball finish to this one, with an apparent malt/bittering hops war going on. mouthfeel is fine, but i think i need more than 7oz to make a fair judgement. lots of body though, and it aint flat. overall i like this, it feels like the base of the maple bacon, and id definitely have another. maybe ill pay for the next one... maybe not

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Harking back to Younger's Special Bitter, the Imperial version does a great job of holding onto that cask-ale crisp maltiness and soft textures. Rogue's Pacman yeast is built for these bready, fruity, Enlgish-style ales.

Very fruity nose brings out apples, peaches, pears, and a hint of dates. Caramelized malts rise and eventually set the stage for the beer. Bready, shortbread aromas and herbal hops round on the aroma.

A glowing dark amber color shows no haze, very nice head formation and retention. Nice lacing throughout. I very nice look.

Flavors of the caramel and bready malts give a solid base to the beer. Fruity esters give a deep and complex flavor to the malts while bitter pine and tropical hops give a resiny pineapple finish to the taste.

Robust malt textures are cut by assertive (but controlled) bitterness. Alcohol serves as a bit of a thinning agent, allowing the dryness of the hops and the maltiness of the barley to shine with no interference from much residual sweetness.

Tasty Enlish Ale that could easlily be mistaken for an English IPA. A pleasure to drink- nice and enjoyable but not a standout.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep hazy copper color ale with good carbonation and good head retention with some lacing as well. Aroma of dry and lightly bitter hops is interesting with a nice bready dry caramel malt backbone. Taste is also dominated by dry and bitter notes, though not as bitter as expected with a huge dry caramel malt backbone with bready notes. Body is quite full with good carbonation. Interesting though not necessarily something I would need to have on a regular basis.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Rogue pub in San Francisco.

Amber-colored bitter with a ring of foam, served in a Rogue pint glass. Sweet and malty nose. The taste reveals a decent backbone of hops and citrus to go along with the dominant caramel malt flavor. Great mouthfeel on this one; the medium body and moderate carbonation make it incredibly drinkable for an imperial strength beer. I greatly prefer this over the standard YSB; it's a shame that Rogue isn't adding this to their regular lineup.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml black ceramic bottle - 8.2% ABV worth of gov't proclaimed heat in this one.

This beer pours a hazy, very dark copper orange colour, with a teeming amount of thick foamy, rocky pale beige head, which sticks in for a spell, eventually scooting, and leaving some nice layered fine lace around the glass. It smells of roasted butterscotch, creamy citrus, and some bitter leafy hops. The taste is sweet biscuity, buttered bread malt, a soft hit of caramel, and then crisp and zippy, grassy and earthy hops. The carbonation is average, if a bit prickly, the body quite full for the style, smooth, and strangely creamy amongst the probing bitterness. It finishes radiating with strong, but reserved bitter herbal, astringently woody hops.

A very enjoyable strong bitter, the balance keenly struck. Any purported extra points of alcohol are all but invisible. But for the strength of the flavours, notwithstanding the booze, we have here an agreeable multi-rounder. Oh, wait - this Sith-bottle provides just that itself...

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brassy burnished orange that looks to have a reddish tint when backlit with sunshine. It's a bold, rich color that is perfect for an Imperial ESB. The pale orange-almond colored head is both bubbly and impressively sticky, like caramelizing sugar. Thick, honeycomb-like lace is plastered all over the upper reaches of the glass. Subsequent pours murk things up nicely, changing the color to glowing sunset tawny.

The nose is pleasant, but it could stand to be more aromatic. The standard Younger's uses Willamette and East Kent Goldings. This beer uses Willamette, U.S. Goldings and then adds Amarillo (hopbacked) for aroma. Although the Amarillo aren't exploding out of the glass, they are identifiable.

It's been a long time since I've had the non-Imperial YSB, but I do remember that I liked it quite a bit. It's no surprise, then, that I like this turbocharged version just as much. It isn't exactly a session bitter, not at 7.1%, but then it wasn't designed to be. It's a fantasically delicious, ingredient-intensive ale, the likes of which Rogue does very, very well.

The malt backbone is a perfect combination of sugar cookies (Maris Otter), drizzled with thick ribbons of brown sugar-caramel icing (Crystal). The hops are orange peel zesty and English Breakfast tea-like, the exact flavors that I normally associate with a beer of this style. Orange blossom honey notes abound as well. I love the exquisite balance, coupled with the taste bud saturating amount of flavor.

I'm not a bit surprised that the brewers have nailed the mouthfeel. It's light enough to be easily drinkable, yet there's a heavenly silkiness that coats the mouth and tongue with a microthin layer of lingering stickiness. This stuff is pure pleasure.

Rogue has yet another winner on their hands. Given the $15 price tag (at least half of which is due to the painted ceramic bottle), I probably won't be buying it again. I'm still glad that I splurged and bought this one. I plan to display it proudly on my bookcase at work.

Imperial Younger's Special Bitter Ale (brewed to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Horse Brass Pub in Portland) is... wait just a minute... I've just emptied the last of the '750' into my glass. I had no idea that it was disappearing that fast. On second thought, maybe a second bottle is in order. Hey Rogue, put this beer in bombers and watch it fly off the shelves.

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Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a somewhat hazy, amber color with a tan, two-finger, bubbly head of foam. Nice retention with some rings of sticky lace.

S - It smelled boozy with a strong punch of sweet maltiness. There was a floral and citric hop presence.

T - It starts with a strong hop bite. It had a sweet maltiness with caramel, toffee and mild chocolate notes.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer with a dry finish.

D - This is a very good ESB. Overprice (like most Rogue products) but good.

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Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Pizza Plant on Main tonight,poured into a goblet a clear amber/bronze with a thinner white head.Big fruity,gummy notes intertwines with resiny hop a passing alcohol presence as well shows itself,it was a joy to drink big malty profile that of juicy,gummy fruit with a hint of caramel sweetness melding into a resiny,piney hop finish that lingers.To me this is near strong ale category its big and malty with healthy dose of hops,me I loved it.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

copper in color with a nice head of white coming up and over the top quite nicely I have to say. Rich side glass lacing that leaves spider like webs all over the sides and bottom of the glass.

caramel malts right up from, balanced well against a pine tar like touch. As it warms some more grassy and herbal notes begin to show their nose and provide some really nice balance to the overall profile. As it warms more and more come through and it actually picks up a great deal of hoppiness by the end. Huge malt bomb at first, followed the aroma quite nicely, becoming hoppy and bitter as I progressed though. Nice touch of boozy in it as well now. Overall very nicely done, well balanced and nice and strong.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.16/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

16 ounce pint - $7.25 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Clear, rich mahogany-hued body with a ½ inch of off-white suds on top.

Smell: Lightly toasty pale maltiness with some distinct crystal malt whiffs and, of course, the hops, with earthy, floral notes and a fair amount of Amarillo.

Taste: Pale malts with some toasted undertones and a distinct crystal malt sweetness present. Floral, earthy hop flavors along with a hearty dose of citrus pith and line pine. Medium-high bitterness. The malts attempt to rebound late with a smidgen of brown sugar, but it soon submerges beneath the heavy hop tastes. As expected from a Rogue offering, this one wraps up particularly dry and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: An ESB crossed with American hops, Rogue's typically higher bitterness, and a solid bump of alcohol which, I'm continually being told, is what folks are into these days. Personally, I found the full entire sixteen ounces to be a bit of a chore to finish.

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Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a small, off white head on top of a clear, copper colored body. Nice lace and good retention.

S - Rich, caramel and bread malt aromas with some toffee and red apple yeast notes. A little cinnamon in the background as well.

T - Bready malt and fruity yeast notes of red apple up front. Some sweet toasted malt in the middle with spicy hops and lightly fruit yeast flavors. The beer finishes bitter and toasty with moderately high bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

D - Very nice, this is an interesting interpretation of an odd style. I would normally think that an Imperial bitter would turn out to be a ill-conceived Frankenstein of a brew, but this works much better than expected. The red apple yeast character melds nicely with the rich malt and there is just enough hop character to keep things drinkable.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

7 oz bottle into a ½ pint glass.

Pours a mostly clear copper, with lot of suspended oils present, and is topped with a finger of off-white head. This retains with a foamy ¼ finger that throws some frothy swathes of lacing up that sticks. The aroma smells grassy and lightly spicy, with citric fruit character that is layered on top of some doughy grains. A big of light alcohol warmth is showing itself as well.

The taste starts with a green citric bitterness that is set against a flat feeling toasted graininess and a splash of sweet caramel. There is a ripe and earthy component to this that lingers in the finish along with a deep pithy and spicy dryness. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a sharp carbonation that is undercut by some beefy alcohol warmth that distinctly hangs on the breath after each sip.

This was decent enough, with a bold bitterness to it that was mostly well balanced. Unfortunately, this showed a bit too much of it’s ABV in spots, which took some of the drinkibility and overall enjoyment of this away from me. The 7 oz bottle here was a more than enough of this though.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml ceramic swing-top bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, nuts, tea, a good amount of hops and some citrus.

T: The taste is well-balanced and starts with mildly sweet flavors of caramel, nuts and citrus. Then a strong but not over-powering hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, nice kick, good representation of style while adding a little extra strength, this is a good beer with substance and flavor to drink for a long time.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got one of the small bottles at quick 6 in West York, PA - poured into a pils glass chilled.

The color is a lightly hazed amber with a thick cream colored cap which is comprised of tight beading. The lace sticks well and carbonation is visible in the liquid. the smell is inviting right from the start- mix of caramel and toast with a marmalade type hop scent with subtle pear notes form the yeast and mild pepper accents with a hint of stone fruit, brown sugar and date notes in the peripheral. the feel is good with spicy and dry texture and moderately high warmth with a full feeling body and texture has great balance with hops and moderately high carbonation. The mouth is bitter and mostly dry with a fruity finish the indicates a little residual sweetness.

the taste is moderately sweet up front with a subtle malt followed by a bitter combo of slight piney and the caramel malt with light fruity stone fruit and herbal hop juxtoposition. I like the mild toasted taste with subtle alcohol as the pepper notes form the hops meld with the dry nutty malt with slight plum and woody flavor from the yeast. The hops keep playing to the malt into the subtle pine finish.

Overall this is a really decent beer I was glad I didn't pass it up. A solid take on the style with nice balance and the only real drawback for me was the price.

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Photo of russpowell
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mine is in the tiny nip bottle

Pours caramel colored. Good lacing average head retention with a finger of cream colored head

S: Herbal hops & apricots

T: Herbal hops, dark fruit & leafy hops up front, with just a touch of caramel. Woody hops, slight booze warmth & apricot all blend as this warms. Finishes with woody & herbal hops, plus more apricot & a touch of pear

MF: Medium bodied, low carbonation, somewhat chewy with pretty nice balance

Drinks easy, not a bad take on the style, but a bit too boozey

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft about a week ago at Mad Mex Robinson, appears a cloudy bronze amber hue with an off white thin beige head leaves even fine lacing around these Rogue JLS always seem a bit under carbonated, which I can deal with. Aroma seems a bit muted caramel malts sweet ripe plums and raisini qualities with mild alcohol and light pine/citrus hop combo presenting itself. Flavors really mix nicely with some seemingly soft refrained British malts that bring caramel and ripe fruit sweetness more fig, plum, and raisin glazed with alcohol and sugar, overall a moderate solid bitterness but not anything too extreme on hops for Rogue of course. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied the lighter carbonation allows the beer to sit on the palate with some resisual sugar stickiness noted. Drinkability always a pleasure to try Rogue small batches great brewery that keeps innovating, good stuff try it if you find it.

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Photo of smcolw
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

7 ounce bottle that creates two-finger head that settles slowly. Leaves some streaky and spotty lace. The broth is cloudy with orange tint to a dirty, dark gold color.

Strong caramel aroma that covers up most of the hop bitterness.

Rich, full-bodied mouthfeel. The taste starts off creamy. The swallow is bitter but the aftertaste is surprisingly short-lived.

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Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This must have been re-released - This came in a black ceramic swing-top bottle:

Pours hazed amber with an off-white head that becomes a patch.

The smell is of some caramel with leafy, earthy, slightly citric notes.

The taste is of caramel sweetness with balancing earthy, leafy, slightly citric bitterness. A hint of alcohol shows in the bittersweet finish.

Medium-bodied, pretty smooth.

An interesting brew - and very good too - nice balance - An American ESB that mixes English and American characteristics. Don't know if it's quite worth the price tag - though the cool ceramic bottle probably has something to do with that. Worth picking up to try it at least once though!

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Photo of drabmuh
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

7 ounce bottle into a RR wine glass. Beer is brown with haze, thin head of tan bubbles, minimal lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, has that Rogueness to it, and some caramel. Smells OK.

For such a big beer its rather weak in all the flavor departments. There is some lead off sweetness and malt character but overall its just not happening in the taste department. Its almost flat and plasticy on the palate. I did not dislike it but there is almost nothing to enjoy about it at the same time.

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Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a stronger English bitter scent which boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a better than average dose of hops. The taste is good as well. It has a dry, bitter flavor that screams hops with a nice touch of caramel malt to balance it out. It's extremely smooth and easy drinking even at 7%. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good beer. It takes an easy drinking session beer and gives it some attitude.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I recently procured this wee 7-fl. oz. bottle and given a recent Rogue kick, I decided to open it this evening. I have no explanation for what I do any more.

From the bottle: Lots of stats, but they seem different from the Notes, so hereby included for posterity - "8 INGREDIENTS: Crystal & Rogue Micro Barley Farm Risk (tm) Malts; Cascade, Golding, Willamette & Rogue Micro Hopyard Revolution Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast."; "17 [deg.] Plato [-] 52 IBU [-] 76 AA [-] 35 [deg.] Lovibond".

I Pop!ped the cap, but having noticed some sediment as well as being faced with a wee tasting glass, I decided to go gentle into this good night. Even so, I still produced a finger of dense, tawny head head with reasonable retention. Color was Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity, hence my calculated pour. Nose smelled of a Lancaster County (PA) field in summer. Honeysuckle, freshly mown grass and maple syrup seemed to dominate and I was transported to my maternal grandparents' house in the (then) countryside. PapPap loved buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup and honey just before he would head out to mow the grass. Gad, he has been passed for nearly forty years! Where has the time gone? Where has the beer gone? Granted, I only had a tiny (comparatively) bit, but it seems to have evaporated during my wool-gathering. Caution: This beer may induce nostalgia. The taste was more aligned with the style, becoming more bitter than sweet, but still evocative of those buckwheat pancakes. Mouthfeel was solidly medium. Finish was semi-dry, but it held enough of a honey-like sweetness to offset its inherent bitterness.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

7 ounce bottle (!) on sale for “only” $1.99 at DeCicco’s in Ardsley, NY.

Pours clouded darker amber, luxuriously tight knit head, leaves nice looking splashes of lacing.

Nose is of maple malts with a hint of smokey peat lingering in the rear.

Malty and quite yummy. Loads of sweet malts, maple, and caramel brownie goodness. Quite smooth and easy flowing over the tongue.

I’ve consciously refused to shell out the crazy expensive amounts Rogue charges for the pretty ceramic bombers of this one, but glad to give it a try even if the serving size was on the comical side

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XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter from Rogue Ales
87 out of 100 based on 147 ratings.