Mourning Wood - Local Option

Not Rated.
Mourning WoodMourning Wood

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BA SCORE
85
very good

62 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 62
Hads: 455
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 10.03%
Wants: 9
Gots: 39 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Local Option visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 12-08-2011

Formerly Morning Wood

Mourning Wood is an oak-aged coffee amber ale. Fresh American oak used during the aging process and Dark Matter’s El Salvador San Jose pulp-natural coffee aromatically drive the beer yet they remain subtle components of the beers’ overall flavor profile. This amber colored, medium-bodied, and extraordinarily well-balanced ale has a delicate taste that is appreciated by beer drinkers of all palates.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 62 | Hads: 455
Photo of Sammy
2.9/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Tastes like, well...wood. the bark of a tree, coffee grounds, some hops. This one was a homebrewing experiment that would not be served. Brown coloured body, a little coffee been aroma. Not too drinkable. I am told it is popular, but that is likely better with food and to people liking say instant coffee. (306 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy beige 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, coffee, earth, and dirt aromas. Taste is much the same with coffee, caramel, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer but the earth and dirt qualities aren't all that pleasant in my opinion. (609 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy yellowish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that gradually died down but consistently left a thin head covering the surface, a collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of nutty malts and coffee are present in the nose. Hints of vanilla become apparent in the smell once the beer warms up.
T: The taste generally follows the smell and has flavors of coffee intermixed with nutty malts while hints of oak become noticeable towards the finish, the latter of which also become stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has a really nice balance between the coffee, malt, and oak flavors—it's a great option if you are looking for a coffee beer but don't want something as heavy as a coffee-infused stout. (950 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the best from local option so far i think, the oak really neutralizes the ph of the coffee, and makes for a much less gut wrenching coffee beer without compromising the coffee flavor or caffeine hit. cloudy rusty orange in color and average headiness. nose of bitter coffee, sweet caramel and pale malts, with a distinct oak barrel woodiness and earthen character. the flavor starts coffee heavy, but it subsides and mellows quickly, letting the malt shine. cool to have such a light and bright coffee beer, that carries the coffee through without all the bitterness of roasted barley like the all too common coffee stout. the oak smoothes the finish into a very soothing beverage, smooth as silk, but still rather bubbly. jovial feel to this one, with a protracted finish of musty wood and cold java. definitely worth checking out if you are a coffee beer enthusiast. (868 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Where the common infrastructure for coffee infused beer is Porter or Stout because of the natural roasted malt characteristics that already have coffee overtones. But there's no such link in Amber Ale- there's no confusion about which coffee flavors of from that of ale and that of spice addition. This makes Morning Wood a straight forward and honest ale but it also simplifies the conversation.

Pouring a dark amber color, there's really no sigh of coffee- at least to the eye. Its short-statured off-white head is creamy and dense until it settles into a delicate creme-like froth. Its semi-firm retention eventually succumbs to the spices and lightened body underneath and with minimal yet isolated pockets of lace to adorn the glass.

Where the eye does't speak coffee, the nose sure does- bold coffee aromas are nutty, earthy, lightly roasted, and woodish. Its supporting short-lived sweetness is of caramel and mild toffee. Its grain underpinnings are just enough to prop up the scent of coffee.

To taste, the coffee element shies away from intense roast but rather embraces the more delicate Breakfast Blends, Kona and Columbia-type flavor which unlocks the nuttier, toastier, and almost chocolaty coffee taste. Mild chicory, anise and damp soil flavors become taste to bridge into the oak flavors to follow. Light wood spice, soft vanilla and caramels support the coffee well but without rivaling for attention. Its tremendous how much coffee flavor stems from its light color.

Medium-light in body, the beer is remarkably drinkable. Its creamy beginnings turn to soft and silky coffee textures in the middle before drying out nicely in a toasted finish. Light alcohol hardly shows beyond a mild warming character. Nutty and earthy aftertaste extends well into the next sip.

I really like the straight forward dialogue of coffee and supporting Amber Ale. It does a nice job revealing a rich coffee taste and without the effort that's normally associated with Porters and Stouts. It's simply a well made and inquisitive ale. (2,036 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Local Option, served in a goblet. Review from written notes.

Saturated auburn orange color, good clarity, thin ring of off white foam around the edges of the glass.

Pleasant roasted coffee aroma, light toasted grains, maple.

Similar flavors, dominant coffee flavors with a little bit of toasted malt and maple in the middle. Lightly bitter astringency from the coffee or possibly oak, though oak isn't really expressed in the taste much. Smooth feel, medium bodied and easy drinking. Would drink this again for sure. (531 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500ml bottle - Hop City in Birmingham, Alabama.

Appearance: Pours out an amber-hued body, lightly hazed, with a smallish, sustained, ivory-hued head.

Smell: Niiice. The satiating coffee bean scent is forward, followed by the American oak, the caramel (presumably American as well), toasted malts, teensy hint of vanilla, and subtle, restrained hop notes of floral and citrus.

Taste: A ladle of sweet caramel leisurely drizzled over toasted bread crusts and biscuit tops, then, a big sip of roasty coffee. Citrus backed with minute amounts of florals and green herbs. A little tangy cherry emerges upon warmth. Moderate bitterness. Bittersweet, caramel-coffee on the finish with some lingering oakiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Enjoyed it! Tasty, with good oak accents, and, I know I say it every time, but, I do enjoy the use of coffee in non-stout beers. (894 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at The Firkin.

Haven't heard that joke since middle school... Anyway, this stuff pours a deep sunset amber topped by a half-finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises coffee, light oak, light toasted rye bread, and a hint of maple syrup dripping deep in the background. The taste brings in more of the same, with the rye bread coming across a touch nuttier and the coffee taking full command of the situation. The body is a light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a thickly slick feel. Overall, a fairly nice coffee brew, but too much of a one-note song to really get anyone riled up. (626 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My bottle says it's brewed by Pub Dog Brewing CO From Westminster MD & it's 7.3%...

Pours an effervescent amber/orange with 2+ fingers of tan head. Good lacing & above average head retention

S: Big time coffee & hazelnut, almost wonder if that's the "natural flavors" on display? Seems a touch artificial

T: Follows the nose, a little dryness as well, some tannic notes as well up front. More coffee & a bit of woodiness/dryness & hazelnut creamer. Finishes, with roasty coffee, sweetness, & oaky notes

MF: Medium body, fairly firm carbonation

Interesting taste, but not very sessionable. Would work as a breakfast beer if nothing better was around. Give me a coffee stout any time (687 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.89/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Jake Melnick's. Served in a taster stange.

A - Quick-dissolving foam settles a thin ring and some wisps on top, but unfortunately no lace. Lightly hazed amber body.

S - Coffee, espresso, hint of oak, some cocoa and caramel, and fruity American ale yeast.

T - Taste is pretty similar, with the coffee dialed down a touch, and more bready and nutty malt flavors mingling with the aforementioned chocolate and fruity yeast.

M - Smooth medium body, low carbonation, lightly tannic texture (from either coffee or oak, who knows?), and no obvious alcohol.

D - I haven't had too many coffee ambers before, but the coffee largely obliterates the base beer so it matters little what was underneath. Very enjoyable aroma, and no major flaws here. I'd have this again if it was reasonably priced. (810 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From 11/13/13 notes. Had a glass of this on tap at Rattle n Hum in NYC. 14 oz pour served in a tulip for $8.

a - Pours a murky, reddish-brown color with one inch of light tan head and low carbonation evident. Some moderate lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of citrus hops, coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, light smoke, oak, and toasted malts. Lights fruits as it warms up too. Very interesting nose but I like it.

t - Tastes of coffee, roasted malts, fruity malts, citrus hops, light peppers, spice, chocolate, oak, and toasted malts. Little spicy and peppery here, not quite as good as the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a decent beer that is pretty interesting. I liked the nose and the coffee definitely comes through, though the taste had a little spice to it I wasn't big one. Second new Local Option beer in the last week...I didn't think this one was as good as Kentucky Common, though they are quite different. Worth checking out if you like coffee and/or red ales. (1,044 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours fairly hazy deep orange copper color with a 2 finger fairly dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of coffee, caramel, toast, biscuit, toffee, light chocolate, vanilla, oak, clove, floral, grass, light citrus, and toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of dark/bready malt, coffee, and oak notes; with decent strength. Taste of coffee, caramel, toast, biscuit, cocoa, light roast, oak, light clove, herbal, floral, light citrus, and toasted earthiness. Light amount of floral bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of coffee, caramel, toast, biscuit, cocoa, light roast, oak, light clove, herbal, floral, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and robustness of coffee, dark/bready malts, and light-moderate oak flavors; with no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, moderately bready, and slightly chalky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Overall this is a good amber ale. Well balanced dark/bready malt, coffee, and light-moderate oak flavors; and very smooth to drink. A pleasantly enjoyable offering. (1,320 characters)

Photo of stakem
2.92/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

500ml bottle into a snifter. The brew appears a clear copper color with slightly off-white cap that fades fairly fast.

The smell is raw with its woody character seemingly almost fake in a strange spicy incense way. The coffee character is a very subtle afterthough that is hardly noticeable behind the aggressive harsh oak.

The taste carries more of that raw oak essence with a mild fruity alcohol feel and a touch of roasty coffee bitterness in the aftertaste.

This is medium bodied, moderatelt carbonated and a pretty forgettable brew. I pass on this if offered again. (573 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured lighter colored amber,a bit lighter than most traditional amber/reds pour. This beer yields a small dirty white cap with decent head retention, minimal lacing though.

S: Interesting. Coffee, vanilla, sweet bread, some caramel.

T: The nose presents more coffee than the taste offers. A little sweetness with layers of oak tannins, caramel, bread and coffee. Pretty balanced flavoring here.
The finish is a bit sweet, yet somewhat dry

M: Light-medium to medium body, well carbonated, smooth.

O: Interesting beer. Not bad. I wouldn't mind having this draft or maybe even nitro. (589 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Morning Wood would definitely be worth a morning wood...it was quite taste. The beer poured a hazy orangish amber with creamy head that left a nice lacing. The scent was coffee mixed with biscuit. The taste was a nice amber base with espresso boost. The mouthfeel was medium to full in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this was a great beer...not sure as to what is going on... the Local Option is Chicago....but the brewer was Pub Dog from Maryland. Nice job who ever! (478 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours an attractive medium red orange with a fine one finger light tan head with great retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of fresh coffee, caramel malt and nuts, hint of chocolate. Flavor is sweet caramel malt, good coffee, nuts, vanilla, pleasant. Medium bodied with some creaminess. A somewhat complex and interesting coffee ale that is nicely balanced between the malt body and the coffee and nutty flavors. This is what I'd expect from a coffee infused nut brown ale. A bit on the sweet side, but enough flavor to carry it off. Coffee is nicely done. I really liked this. I usually only enjoy coffee in dark malt beers like stouts, but this really is well done and enjoyable. (717 characters)

Photo of Tone
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, yeast, caramel malt, biscuit, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of an American Amber / Red Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of a hint of hop, yeast, sweet malt, caramel malt, hint of earthy malt, hint of floral, and a hint of biscuit. Overall, I enjoyed the biscuit-y roasted-ness in both the body and aroma, but otherwise an average beer. (505 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 1.13.14

A - Pours a cloudy light brown with a one inch tan fluffy, resistant head.

S - Coffee, and some toasted wood.

T - Watery coffee, pretty mild.

D - Thin body and nice carbonation.

O - Thin light and gimmicky label. Meh all around. (258 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.14/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recently stumbled across my notes from The Festival 2012. Lets do this!

A - Poured a nice orange hue, light amber, with a half finger white head that fades nice and slow. Solid.

S - Wow, big, big aromas of coffee here. Super coffee and maple, definitely drank probably 22oz of this first thing in the morning due to its super pleasant aroma.

T - Taste is delicious, there is nice coffee and faint maple syrup notes, though its all a bit on the fainter side. Would like more, just like the nose.

M - Mouthfeel is solid for the style, touch on the smooth side.

O - Overall a damn fine beer. Definitely drank my fair share of this at The Festival. (650 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a cloudy texture. There was a small amount of foamy head that lasted a good amount of time. Average lacing.

S: A nice aroma of hops, malt, and a hint of coffee.

T: Tasted of light hops, some malt, a little bit of coffee, and what seems to be a nutty quality. Not necessarily your typical amber flavor. It's much more dynamic and flavorful than most beers of the style.

M: A solid amount of carbonation with a sharp, slightly bitter finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Definitely an interesting take on the amber style. Well worth a look. (595 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
4.29/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served from tap into a Trappe Door tulip. Poured copper with a two finger off-white head that subsided to a half finger slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, coffee, toffee, caramel, earth, and bread. The flavor was of sweet malt, bread, coffee, toffee, caramel, and cream. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I have to be honest that I picked this one up just for the name. However, upon first investigation of the nose I was taken back a good bit due to all of the complexity going on. The flavor was more of the same as the coffee and toffee notes were very well incorporated and done quite well into the beer. This made it quite intriguing and enjoyable during each sip of the glass. This was an excellent representative of the style and I would love to have this one again. I mean, I did have two glasses of it that evening which is quite unusual for me. (973 characters)

Photo of jbaker67
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap on John J. Jefferies. Deep orange in color, a little dirty, soft to moderate frothy white head, a little lacing. Coffee aroma, a little sweet, something else that is hard to describe but its nice. Soft coffee up front, not as strong as the nose suggested. Otherwise a little malty, bready. Needs to have a bit more sweetness as on the tongue its a bit dull. Body and mouthfeel are moderate. Dull coffee and somewhat sweet bready finish. Really liked the nose, but it was too soft on the tongue. (501 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%

Thanks to me for picking up this beer, one of the few from this brewery that are clearly labelled as to what the hell they are. 500ML bottle split with my wife.

The pour is a dense amber, with minimal carbonation. The nose is like being held for ransom in a Starbuck’s. There might be a little sweet creamer tickling the nostrils, but it’s the powdered kind, & not much of it. This. Is. A. Coffee. Beer.

Mourning Wood isn’t the coffee fisting I was expecting after my first whiff. There is no doubt, however, that this is coffee forward: it’s all over the beer, front, back, & center. The amber characteristics add a warm sweetness in the middle & a bitterness that I think it hops, but is hard to separate from the beanage. This thing gets weird in the middle: herbal tea, splash of pseudo-creamer, Menard’s lumber (probably treated with something toxic). Finishes with more coffee, & all the strangeness burrowing into every mouthal crevice I own. Glad I didn’t try to take this bottle on my own.

Weird. Not bad, but doesn’t form a harmonious whole, as the entire brew seems like it’s trying to devour it’s tail. Decent. (1,146 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.31/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY. Oak-aged coffee amber ale? What a weird combination of ideas. Let's see if it works.

Pours a dark amber with a one inch head with a small amount of lacing down the glass.

Smells include oak, earthy coffee, and hazelnuts.

The taste is pretty similar. Lots of earthy coffee flavor here- the coffee flavor shines through more strongly than a porter or stout- because the roast of the a porter or stout sometimes blinds the pure coffee flavors. The coffee here provides earthy sweet flavors, along with some nutty flavors that remind of hazelnuts or pecans. The beer is also incredibly woody and oaky, like drinking liquid wood at times. It is a good flavor- but becomes slightly overbearing at times. Some vanilla and caramel as well.

Medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel, low carbonation.

One of the more interesting beer experiments had. Maybe use less strong oak or age it on the oak for less time, and the beer would be near perfect. As of now, the oak flavors are too strong. (1,019 characters)

Photo of mynie
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%

No friggin idea what to expect here. A coffee amber? Why not a jalepeno cream stout or an amarillo hopped dubble. Cripes, people, do any of you have any sense of decency anymore?!?

But, hey--I was just trying to come up with weird, gross-sounding style combinations, and it was really hard to do. Why? Because American beer has gotten so weird and open-minded that even a flavor combination that sounds absolutely contradictory could be worth a shot. I mean, they made a beer that was supposed to taste like pizza and it was totally ok. A coffee amber really ain't that weird.

In theory, at least, it ain't that weird. In practice, it tastes like some weird European hard candy. It's not bad, but like I said in my first sentence, I got no idea how to review it.

It's a bunch of very tasty weirdness. Not unlike beer, I guess, but also not very much like beer. Big nodes of mocha and toffee and then some barley in the back end, all mellowed out excellently by oaking. (984 characters)

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Mourning Wood from Local Option
85 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.