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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

29 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 29
Hads: 35
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 7.32%
Wants: 9
Gots: 3 | 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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 08-05-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For 2009 and earlier vintages.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 29 | Hads: 35
Photo of tonistruth
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

on tap @ Pizza Port in Carlsbad, CA

A- deep copper brew under 1 finger of off white foam, good retention, film lacing

S- toffee, malt sweetness, alcohol

T- scent betrays what lies here, hop are quite aggressive throughout, mostly grassy hop, toasted grains, candied caramel, toffee and alcohol(stars in finish)

M- full body that is hot and coarse at finish

D- smells great but not easily drinkable (in my opinion), alcohol is too harsh and the flavors before it to not make battling the alcohol worth it

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Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

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Photo of jackorain
3.77/5  rDev -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

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Photo of baiser
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of Floydster
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
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

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Photo of poluti
3.98/5  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.

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Photo of hopdog
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of berkey
4.02/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of illidurit
4.03/5  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.

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Photo of jwolfie70
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of bbothen
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice red/copper color with a small bubbly off white head that quickly dissipates into a few bubbles rimming the glass.

The smell of this brew is awesome. I was not expecting the epic battle between hops & sweet malt here. The hops come strong with pine, spruce, tropical aromas. Malt aint no joke either with some sweet toffee & fruitiness. Bravo. I could put my nose in this glass all night.

Sweet caramel maltiness up front, nice citric hoppiness, fruity, tropical, faint smokiness, all these flavors balance nicely for a really tasty brew. Yeah.

Medium to full, moderate carbonation, warming booze, lingering great taste.

A big & flavorfull brew. A couple pints is a good serving for one sitting.

I really enjoy this beer. Unique, well made, & really tasty.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
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!

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  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.

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Photo of slayer3604
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber/orange with a nice dense white head with a multitude of different sized bubbles. Smells like pungent earthy wilderness greenery. Nice bit of pine, and a slight hint of a fruity malt profile.
Tastes great. Very good way to wind down after a crazy day at work. Unlike the nose, malt comes first, and in a big way. Its followed by a spicy, herb infused hop bomb with a shit ton of bitterness lingering in the background.
Has a full body, and at 8% who'da though otherwise? The finish is dominated by hops, even tropical flavors, which did not appear on the nose, but overall, a damn fine DIPA.
Pretty apparent 8%er but its raining, I walked about a quarter mile from work to my truck and the last thing I want is a beer I can't feel! CHEERS DRAKE!

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Photo of lou91
4.23/5  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.

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Photo of Zorro
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
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

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Photo of rkhaze
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of Vancer
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A deep dark mahogany with some noticeable co2. The head dies rapidly and leaves a sticky lace. Aroma is malty and of caramel with some roasty notes. A true Scotch Ale not loaded with hops. Flavor is sweet with a light hop bite (almost tart) finish. Nothing complex, but a good representation the style. Palate is medium bodied with a roasted grain presence. I found this to be one of the better Scotch Ales (that I have tried) brewed in the US. Well balanced and full of the malt flavors that make this style great.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of Troyone
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of vince4953529
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, the cute-looking label indicates the 2010 version to be an imperial red ale; 8% abv.

Poured into my Stone RIS snifter, color looks a very dark ruby red, a lovely head surfaced as well. Lacing braced against the side of glass like continuous images from the Rorschach test.

Smells full of hop, a bit musty.

The taste is very hoppy, very much like an IPA. I did not detect much of the "red" aspect, minimal malt support actually. This could pass for a DIPA anytime.

I love the taste, and drinks very smooth. But the taste should be bit malty for an imperial red even though the color differs. But that's a minor complaint because it's very delicious.

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Drake's Jolly Rodger from Drake's Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.