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Drake's Jolly Rodger - Drake's Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Drake's Jolly RodgerDrake's Jolly Rodger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

34 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 34
Reviews: 29
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 7.52%
Wants: 9
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For 2009 and earlier vintages.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 08-05-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 34 | Reviews: 29 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by dwilson01:
Photo of dwilson01
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a bomber into my arrogant bastard pint glass, the body is an orange caramel color, very clear with nice carbonation rising throughout. The head is a healthy two fingers of tan creamyness, reminds me of the golden-brown color of a perfectly roasted marshmellow.

The smell is quite hoppy, the distinguished sweet orange floral part due to the cascade and the more pungent wooded bitterness from the chinook, what a great hop combination. The malt scents linger in the background bringing up aromas of brown sugar, and a nice toasted hazelnut.

The taste is great, full, and with multiple stages. It starts off nice with the floral aroma hops going all out for a nice refresher to the palate. This is followed by a growing malty flavor of thick honey maple syrup combined with buttered rye toast. After the first two stages have lulled you into a sense of security you discover your folly and get a nice wallop of bitter chinook hops to the taste buds. The bitterness comes from a nice planty, piney, spicey type of taste, it doesn't remind me of anything in particular though.

The mouthfeel is solid, just about the only thing that lets you know that this guy is an 8.0%er. Thick maltyness combines with mild carbonation to produce something very smooth, creamy, and refreshing.

Extremely drinkable, each bitter aftertaste lingers on and entices you to the next sip, I keep trying to define that bitterness in there but am unable to do so.

Perfect name on this guy also, it lulls you into thinking your safe just like a pirate ship with a fake flag up on it so it can get close. Then all of a sudden you're taken by surprise when you get a nice hop-smack in the face just like when the pirates lower the fake flag and fly the real one.

dwilson01, Dec 08, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 250 ml, $11 bottle. Bold scotch taste, creamy mouthfeel. Strong stuff, no weaknesses. Wonder what it would be aged. Carmel ball, a wee toasted. Good example of style, but is it worth the wee heavy pricetag? Certainly warming alcohol, a good winter warmer.

Sammy, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of augustgarage
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse. Served in a generic wide-mouth tulip.

Liquid is a very dark burgandy with ruby highlights, topped by thick cream-tinged ivory foam - leaving soapy lacing in its wake.

Rich caramel malt and peat smoke aromatics. Light toast, and a hint of raisins.

Tobacco, figs, prunes, lots of floral notes, rich buttery caramel on the palate. Heavy malts balanced nicely by lightly bitter zesty hops. Finishes relatively dry with a touch of bitterness and grass.

Medium-light bodied, well carbonated, and warming.

A very good example of the style, though lacking a little character compared to the best Wee Heavies.

augustgarage, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of dirtylou
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ontap, Rogue Alehouse in San Francisco

cellphone notes

appearance: served in a standard pint, amber hued mahogany body, creamy tan head

smell: chocolatey, caramel, milk chocolate, roasted malt, figs, toffee

taste: really nice beer from Drake's - creamy caramel, toffee, big roasted malts, spruce and citrus peel hops, layers and layers of flavor

mouthfeel: creamy, sweet, and big bodied

drinkability: good

dirtylou, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of Troyone
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark translucent root beer color with a slight amber hue, has minimal carb action, and little or no head.

Has a heavy cookie, roasted, nutty, molasses malt smell with pine, resin, grapefruit and orange hops aroma.

A heavy sweet and moderately bitter taste that resembles the smell with an almost burnt nutty molasses malt and more pronounced resin and orange hops.

Has a full body, dry almost syrupy texture, lively soft carbonation, and a metallic and slighty alcoholic finish.

Very drinkable for the style.

Troyone, May 21, 2005
Photo of berkey
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Hopyard in San Ramon. Served in a pint glass. From notes 12/08/09.

Body is a very dark but clean brown color with ruby tones at the edges. Forms a very small tan head of loose bubbles that fades fairly quickly leaving only a small ring of foam along the sides of the glass.

Nose puts off tons of roasted malt and chocolate and an unexpectedly vinous dessert wine character. There's also a fairly healthy dose of hops for the style, which is pretty typical of this brewer. They seem to really love the aroma hops.

Flavor follows with a nice dose of sweet fruity esters but I'm not entirely sure I can identify which fruits for some reason, seems to lean slightly toward the citrus more than the dark fruits you might expect. There are hints of alcohol and an interesting slightly spicy herbal finish which compliments the still very present roasted malt character well.

This pour had medium to low carbonation. You can tell you're drinking a bigger beer due to the minor heat in the feel but it's not enough to be distracting. Even so, I find myself really taking awhile finishing this one glass. Obviously not a session beer.

Very interesting brew. While not exactly the best Wee Heavy I've tried it was very well done and a nice alternative to the usual Winter Warmer many brewers do for a seasonal this time of year. I found this highly enjoyable as an after work beer on this unusually cold day. If it wasn't for the high importance of appearance on this site my score would be even higher.

berkey, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of lou91
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark cherry coke color which is what this beer should look like. Solid smells of malts and sublte sweetness. As it warmed in my hands the nose was calling out to take a drink and this is an excellent take on this rare style. Rich, thick malty with a maple, smokiness with hops playing a minor role as you would expect. Very well done.

lou91, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of baiser
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown body with ruby highlights. Has a tremendous sweetness to it. Lots of malty sweetness, roasty flavours, a good amount of hops. Hides the alcohol very well. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Moderate bodied. It gets pretty warming as you drink. Definitely a beer to be sipped. Pretty enjoyable scotch ale.

baiser, Nov 02, 2005
Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a Coca-Cola colored clear brew.

Smell is very roasty and citrus hops too. Fair scent of smoke and malt and sweet chocolate. Fruity smell of plum and cherry scents. Alcohol is easily detectable but that is OK as it smells like cherry brandy. VERY Fragrant brew here!

Taste is very sweet and malty and aggressive. Lots of fruity flavors at the start the cherries team up with a chocolate flavor. Alcohol is very detectable as a chest warming sensation. After you get past the sweetness there is a noticeable acidity here that heighten the sensation of the fruit. Mild scotch like smokiness.

Mouthfeel is good and thick enough but you aren't going to be chugging this! This is a sipping brew!

Very smooth and drinkable brew but not all-purpose. This is a big warming beer probably not what you would want to drink on a hot day but a GREAT brew for winter and cold weather.

Zorro, Aug 02, 2005
Photo of jwolfie70
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass at the Englander in San Leandro. Pour is dark brown with no head remaining when it reached my table. Smell is of dark fruits and roasted malt. Taste is of prunes, molasses and some alcohol peaking through. A true malt bomb, but not cloying. I enjoyed this beer, but couldnt see myself drinking too many in a night.

jwolfie70, Feb 23, 2008
Photo of poluti
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You'll have to excuse the fact that I am a hop nut. I tried to be objective as possible and to be honest, this Wee Heavy I truly enjoyed.
It pours dark-brown almost black. When held to the light it has amber tones. The head is a little tan but minimal, typical of Scottish ales, but make no mistake, this is a Wee-Heavy. There is a pervasive scent of heavy alcohol, however, when overcome, it smells a tad chocolate, a tad fruity, and a tad like Kent Goldings (I might be reaching but I try to smell for the hops as well as the malt). Its initial taste was rich and chocolatey, very malty. Mid-glass the hops content came through... a tad smoky bitter sensation and then it went bitter malty towards the end. The unfermentable sugars come through in a big way in the initial sips. The malt is almost sourish but roasted. The mouthfeel is pleasant almost syrupy. It's a bit of a challenge. As stated earlier it has that taste of being pervasively alcohol, however the tip of the tongue is tinged and sweetened significantly like chocolate, while the sides of the tongue have a sour note. I know there were hops present in that the sides of my mouth kicked in as they usually do with a hoppy beer. However this wasn't enough to overcome the malt bill in this bad boy. I would highly recommend this one to people who love malt structure and especially Wee-heavies. I wouldn't recommend it to your average Scottish ale fan or hop guy like me. However, it is a Wee-Heavy and should be consumed like one.

poluti, Oct 28, 2005
Photo of Mark
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange amber color was semi clear. Head was well formed but disapated fairly quickly, lacing was scarce. Wow what a wonderful aroma this beer had. Fresh piney nose is so inviting, some citrus notes too. Same piney hops are on the palate along with grapefruit and a little orange. A decadent beer that needs to be nursed. it's very strong but very drinkable. Suzanne kept stealing some sips from my pint. Very nice beer.

Mark, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of hopdog
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle shared courtesy of jasonmech77. Poured a medium orange color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of caraml, grapefruit skins, oranges, and some pine. Tastes of caramel, grapefruit, oranges and melons. Light alcohol in the finish.

Notes from 3/2/07

hopdog, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of GarthDanielson
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle, this beer presents with a dense, foamy head and a dark, amber/red color. The beer has a sweet caramel and molasses smell, with a nice undertone of scotch (hence the name). The beer carries a rich, malty taste, with hints of fruit in the aftertaste. Flavors similar to some barleywines. Very drinkable in moderation, and we found that it actually tastes more full and flavorful at room temperature.

GarthDanielson, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of Adamostella
3.25/5  rDev -21.1%

Adamostella, Feb 24, 2014
Photo of jackorain
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Main Street Brewing Company in Pleasanton, CA as a guest beer.

A-dark amber color, slight chill haze that cleared up as it warmed up, full pint wiht no head, bartender did this

S-malty carmel and biscuit, green and pney hops, alcohol esters carry dried fruits like raisons and prunes

T-very malty and sweet carmel malts are domonant, biscuit malts also ghere. pine and green hops come through ion the middle. Hoppier than I expect for a wee haevy but it is welcome.

M-medium body. a little thin, given the strong malt presence. nice even carbonation

D-I could have two but the ABV will become an issue after that

jackorain, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of illidurit
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz.

10 oz pour. Body is a very dark brown. Head is 1 finger tall and a creamy beige. Very nice lacing.

Aroma is chocolatey with a bit of smoke and dark fruit.

Flavor consists of chocolate and fig, with molasses and smoke notes.

Body is full enough to support the richness of flavor here. A little overcarbonated however.

illidurit, Jan 29, 2008
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 edition on-tap at Barclay's for their Christmas in July celebration. Pours reddish brown with a thin, tight head that fades to a thin cap that leaves some lacing. Smells quite malty with some piney hops tossed in and some light maple and soy notes in the finish. The taste is similar. This tastes a good deal like an old ale, which is no surprise given its strength and its being aged for a year, with a still firm malt backbone, some sherry notes, but still quite hoppy with some pine notes. Very well integrated by this point, and not at all tired. Quite good.

Georgiabeer, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of rkhaze
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with reddish hues. Medium sized creamy tan head.
Smells of sweet malt, caramel, a little fruit and alcohol. A whiff of smoke as well.
Big semi sweet smoky malt flavor. Caramel, brown sugar and a spicy hop bitterness. Finshes bittersweet and fruity with an alcohol presence that is well integrated but warms the stomach. Nice subdued sweetness for a Scoth Ale. Their was really no peat noticeable until this warmed a bit. Sooo..let it warm a bit.
Medium to full bodied with a rich tangy mouthfeel and good carbonation.
Good drinkability for a 9% beer. Good beer, I liked the fact that the sweetness was low key for the style.

rkhaze, Aug 24, 2004
Photo of peacebone116
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 2010 Jolly Rodger Imperial Red into an over-sized wine glass.

A: Dark copper. Big tan colored head with strong lacing.

N: Pine and grapefruit.

T/M: Spicy piny, earthy, citrusy. Carbonation is nice on the tongue. Thick and chewy. light malt backbone, which becomes more prominent as the beer warms (as does the alcohol), but always remains in the background; this beer is almost more like an IPA except that there the malt has a much more caramelized flavor to it.

EXCELLENT beer! I may have to contact the brewery to see if I can get a keg!

peacebone116, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of Vancer
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

SOLID ! A hammer ! Two or three of these would make for trouble. But anyway, only nitpick item was a quickly dying tan head. Other than that – great scotch ale.

Deep clear mahogany brown. Chocolate malt in the aroma. Quaff had these and notes of anise, and bourbon malts, just plain tasty. Very rich and robust brew – almost creamy. GREAT sippin frosty, just some subtle hints of alcohol behind the taste curtain. Again, excellent.

Thanks be to lou91 for the opportunity.

Vancer, Apr 25, 2006
Photo of kbub6f
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle says "Jolly Rodger" (with a "d"), whereas the drinkdrakes.com website spells it "Jolly Roger" (without the "d"). But the website also says the beer is only available in kegs, and I have the bottle right here in front of me, so I'll go with the bottle. It reads:

"Drake's Jolly Rodger is based on a 19th century Scotch Ale recipe. Brewed to be exported, batches start with a much higher Original Gravity to allow the beer to be more shelf stable on it's [sic] voyage. Drake's Jolly Rodger is lightly hopped with East Kent Golding hops for a slight bitterness to counterbalance the sweet malt taste. Limited Release"

The beer is a dark, dark red-brown with a small, beige, noisy, bubbly head that leaves runny spots of lacing. The nose is sweet molasses, grapes and a little chocolate. Sweet, fermented grapes, butter and a tangy toffee in front lead to a sweet, molasses, buttery, thick, sweet syrupy (but not too sweet) middle. It finishes with tangy fruit, some chocolate, a touch roasty and quite nicely, lightly bitter. There is a pleasant, warming alcohol effect. This is a thick, rich, buttery, tangy, fruity beer. Bread puddingy. More cream and chocolate develop with temperature, but it stays quite tangy and bitter. The sweetness never steals the show. I like it a lot!

kbub6f, Aug 05, 2004
Photo of elNopalero
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A barrel-aged version of the 09 Jolly Roger? How can I say no?

This poured a dark, ruddy brown color. There’s a just-shy of being tart aroma to this, with a flavor that is a kiss of tartness on the lips. Some bourbon coconut notes, perhaps from being barrel-aged, with no noticeable hop presence. More tart than bitter, and an interesting experience.

elNopalero, Feb 29, 2012
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliantly clear, rich ruby red color. It only forms a wispy, pale, tan colored head that just forms a ring around the glass. The aroma is definitely on the hoppy side of things; sharp with lots of pine-like notes, but ultimately it is dominated by citrus notes such as grapefruit and sweet orange as well as fruit notes of apricot, and lychee. Surprisingly enough I don't get any notes of alcohol; this is just a smooth, hopaliciously aromatic brew.

The taste is sweetish, and definitely viscous as it lays across my tongue. Reminds me a bit of an orange creamcicle; it is sweet and has an intense candied citrus character that reminds me of a mix of vanilla and orange. The finish is lightly bitter, actually it is fairly bitter, but the ample malt and citrus hop character drowns out a lot of the bitterness. The finish does have a linger bitterness to it that just balances out the sweetness found up front. Somehow this beer is not all that heavy, it somehow maintains a deceiving drinkability despite the beer's strength.

Gueuzedude, Apr 24, 2006
Photo of Floydster
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pint at Pizza Port Carlsbad for about five dollars, they listed this at 9.75% and called it a double red rather than a scotch ale

Color was a very dark red, almost brown, I could barely see through the body when held up to the light, impressive appearance, small off white head that settled rather quickly, not much retention but some nice sticky lacing

Smell was extremely hoppy, similar to dry IPA, also got hints of dark fruit, particularly raisins, dried berries, some toffee and caramel malt, somewhat floral hoppiness as well

Taste was not like any other wee heavy style beer I have had if it really is one, most similar thing I have had to this is Ballast Point's Tongue Buckler and this was much better than I remember that being, some piney hoppiness right up front with a big malty finish that is rather chewy, some sweet malty flavors came about once it warmed, not as much fruit in the taste than there was in the smell, nicely balanced overall and the bitterness really made this one stand out

Body was super thick and had just the right amount of carbonation, just wish the taste would have lasted longer, especially when it had as dry of a finish that it did

Could not drink too much of this mainly because of how filling it is, it is rather strong too and right around ten percent alcohol, another pint might have been pushing this, can taste the alcohol during the last few sips as well

This had been on my wants list since I joined the site and I was very excited to see it as one of the guest taps here during my quick stop, best beer I have tasted from Drake's yet, will pick some of this up in the future if I come across some bottles, would be interesting to see what this would do with some age while the hops mellowed out, highly recommended

Floydster, Jan 18, 2008
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Drake's Jolly Rodger from Drake's Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.