XS Old Crustacean | Rogue Ales

1,274 Ratings
XS Old CrustaceanXS Old Crustacean

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly "Old Crustacean"

8 Ingredients:
Hugh Baird Carastan and Rogue Micro Barley Farm DareTM & RiskTM Malts; Chinook and Rogue Micro Hopyard Revolution & Freedom Hops, Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

110 IBU
83 AA
57º Lovibond

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-03-2001

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Reviews: 707 | Ratings: 1,274
Photo of Guinness4me
1.46/5  rDev -63.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

The taste comes from the flavor reached by soaking the socks worn by sea captains, or Oregon fishermen, in tepid seawater. This is not a beer for the faint-hearted.

It poured nice enough with a slight head with wispy lace. From there, things went terribly wrong.

The smell was musty and sweet. Ick.

Once the first sip hit the back of my tongue, I swear that all the air was sucked out of my lungs. Maybe it was my body's defense mechanism to keep from breathing-in the fumes. It was an acrid, bitter taste that left an aftertaste like that of coffee with too much chicory, or is it bile?

Taste at your own risk. I'm determined to choke down the last 1/2 of this pint.

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Photo of kojevergas
1.47/5  rDev -63.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

2000 vintage. "Unfiltered and unfined." 26 plato. 120 IBU. "Best when aged for 1 year." Oops. Cute little 7 fl oz brown glass bottle with printed-on clear label and branded pressure cap acquired at a local bottle shop for around $10.00 USD and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Expectations are low; I've never had a beer this old that was good.

Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with as much vigor as possible as major carbonation issues are anticipated.

No hiss or signs of carbonation upon removing the cap. Uh-oh...

A: Pours no head whatsoever. I swirl the glass to try to get a floater or something, but I can't. There are some bubbles on the surface, so maybe there's still some co2 in there. Body colour is a murky dull opaque brown with reddish hues. Yeast particles are abundant and chunky, visible plainly at the bottom of the glass.

Admittedly, it's not much to look at.

Sm: Obvious oxidation - wet cardboard comes to mind. Raisin, sherry. Caramalt and biscuit malt. No hop character is present here. Caramel, toffee. Some faded fruity notes. Raisin is dominant, followed closely by oxidation. Touches of alcohol. Dead yeast.

Time doesn't seem to have been good to this beer based on the aroma. Mild in strength. I'd safely call it unappealing.

T/Mf: Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Raisin and wet cardboard. Dull vague malts. Some prune juice. Luckily, there's no booze. But it does have a sticky old feel to it which is rather unpleasant. Dead yeast. Hints of sherry, but not enough to save it. Acrid overall.

Viscous and musty. Sludgy and thick. Bleh. Flat. Vinous. Some acidity. Syrupy.

No hop character comes through at all.

Dr: Not drinkable at all. The tiny 7 oz bottle may be 6 oz too much for me. I'll struggle to get through it, but I may have to just cook with it or mix it with another beer at the very least. Really terrible with 13 years on it; I'll have to revisit it with one year of age to really give it a fair shake, but this experience was consistent with the other bad aged beers I've had. Note to self: don't buy any beer with more than five years of age on it. Definitely the worst beer I've had in a long time.


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Photo of bobhits
1.49/5  rDev -62.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Really, who makes a beer with a statement like “best aged one year” and doesn’t give you the month it was bottled?

Opening a bottle that was bottled in 2010 so I have to assume that January 1 2010 was the bottle date so this is ideal and the perfect version of this beer. No more age could possible help this one based on what Rogue says.

A cloudy and orange with a touch of red color body, yeast and sediment clearly present. The head is about a half inch of off white with caramel colored bubbles. Lacing forms almost instantly down the side.

Caramel and amber malt is about all I can pick up on. This beer smells like some child’s candy. That lack of complexity makes the sweet aroma far from good by beer standards but I suppose just below average for barely wines.

Despite the nose this beer is a hop bomb like few I’ve ever had. Opens with a pillowy sweet caramel and sugar malt profile, but quickly turns to a sharp and bitter funk. A coy and unenjoyable fake candy malt flavor mixed with a beer far over the top with hops leaves the mouth confused and disappointed. This beer claims 110 IBU’s and they are there. The problem is they aren’t balanced and this is a freaking barely wine. Much like Bigfoot this beer tries to create a barely wine that is hoppier than any double IPA and with less malt than most.

Not much to talk about here. Thick but not brandy leggings thick and well carbonated for the style but true to style.

Pass on this one. Rogue I want to give you credit for going away from those awful oversized over priced bottles, but you give us these very drinkable sized 7 oz servings and charge 5 bucks for them. Then you fill with one of the worst barely wines I’ve had…shame on you. Oh and you don’t give a bottled on date but have the audacity to tell me to drink at a year old? I should score this beer all 1’s just for that!

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Photo of pmatz2
1.55/5  rDev -61.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This is the most vile concoction I have ever had. I poured this one down the drain rather quickly. I guess I just didn't get the point. The 120 IBU's were not counter balanced by anything making for a nasty taste from start to finish. I'm not normally pissed off finding a beer I don't like but dropping serious coin for this bomber did the trick.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
1.68/5  rDev -58.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

A - Scarlet amber ichor with a thin head that barely covered the surface and vanished nearly instantly. Swirling reveals how the brew viscously clings to the sides. There is an odd yellow color in the beer too.

S - Alcohol is extremely dominant here. When I drank this, I didn't realize this was only 11.3%, Rogue does a terrible job of masking it. I have had many high abv beers at this level and I cannot thing of one that is as harsh on the nose. It is like sniffing rubbing alcohol. I can barely detect anything underneath that, but there is a faint caramel malt and a touch of pine.

T - Alcohol! My first thoughts are of battery acid (not that I've ever drank it, but I imagine this is what it tastes like). A caramel malt sweetness with some bourbon character, then the beer turns to an oppressive hop bitterness for the finish. After a while the aftertaste takes on an ocean water / salt flavor. I didn't expect that at all, but I suppose that would account for the name.

M - Numbs the mouth, a lot. Kills germs, or at least it pretends to do that. Refreshes the front of the mouth while drying the back. It is viscous and smooth. A little while after drinking this, part of my mouth started to bleed. I don't think it is a coincidence.

D - The drinkability is bad, even for a barleywine. A few of us shared the gigantic ceramic fifth. My half glass was a distressing chore to finish. It might improve with age. I will pass in the future unless some tells me it was well aged. Sessions unthinkable. Food might be okay, if the beer was.

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Photo of stirgy
1.87/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Bottled in 2001.

Poured a murky and mysterious burgundy brown color. A thin filmy head of tan cream topped the beer off. The aroma is strong with sticky fruit and heavy with malt sweetness. The heavy and rich aromas that emanate from this beer almost come full circle and almost cabbage-like. The taste – well now, how to say this… it’s like chewing on a grapefruit seed. Intensely bitter throughout and seems highly unbalanced, even with the heavy malt. I know this is an “American Style” barleywine, and it is from the West Coast, but Jesus! Gimme a break here! This might be just the thing if you want to strip the paint off dads’ old Studebaker. A few more sips and I’m breathing fire. It’s like sucking on a green acorn. Tannic, acidic and bitter as hell. Body of malt is heavy, but gets completely overwhelmed by the bitter qualities. It reminds me of accidentally drinking seawater, and it back washes up through your sinus cavity. It stings and numbs. I really can’t see anyone enjoying this… I did manage to finish it, but just barely. Maybe this is just too young... but, until it (or my palate) matures - Gag…

This is just craft beer gone wrong, IMHO.

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Photo of SSGPat
1.93/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I was excited that a barleywine was in my possession. It poured well; nice color and head. It smelled like a hoppy barleywine, which was interesting. I tasted it and thought it was the worst thing that I've ever put in my mouth. Bitter... VERY BITTER. We ended pouring out the bottle because we thought that we'd gotten a bad one. I bought another. Same result. I'd never poured out a bottle of beer before, now I've poured out $26 dollars worth of two beers.

Save your money for Old Foghorn.

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Photo of Hooker275
2.04/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Ok, in North Carolina, we finely started getting good beers after the alcohol cap was lifted. Too bad one of those beers was this one.
It came in a large, ceramic type bottle with the pop top. The color was a deep reddish-brown, with a slight head. Smell, whoa, smells like lawn clippings. With a hint of alcohol. It tasted pretty much the way it smelled. Like lawn clippings. Very bitter, lawn clippings. Didn't really think much of the mouth feel as I was too busy wondering if someone emptied a lawn mower, added some faint hops and manure, then put it in my bottle. Overall, not a great ale. Actually, it was horrible. I poured the rest of the bottle out eventually. Definitely not something I'll ever drink again, if I have a choice.

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Photo of oregone
2.31/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

7oz into tulip
A:Looks solid. Caramel colored with some transluscence. Nice lacing on the glass after the somewhat prodigioud head (for a barleywine) drops to a fine rim.
S: Some creamy butterscotch up front with a pronounced hop finish. Piney smells with some citrus being the dominant character.
T: An unbalanced hop mess. I love the hop flower, Ruination and other high ibu brews being regulars, but damn. You need some balance or at least good flavor. And this has very little. Strange that a barleywine has the dominant character be bitterness. And Asprirn.
Medicinal, unpleasant bitterness that stays.
M: The initial appreciation is mildly sweet caramels (slightly rich feeling, that is), but quickly the abundant carb and aggressive hops hit your palate and this thins out. Not to style at all for what that's worth, and the finish is dry with no richness nor pleasant character.
D: I have no problem with high abv beers and enjoying them. That said, they must be enjoyable. Going back for sips of this was a tedious chore and akin to choosing to chew another Aspirin. A tough decision. The building nastiness says a sip is enough. I finished my 7oz. But not happily.

So, I hear this was a fresh batch. Having had others with age and been suitably underwhelmed, I will not be going back. Even if they pale in badness compared to this one, I believe that there is little expectation of goodness. If you looked at this as a DIPA you might be less underwhelmed, but still, that medicinal nastiness would make it less than happy making.

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Photo of TheEclecticGent
2.48/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is one intense barley wine! Almost too intense for me. Very intense, robust, malty and dark flavor with a hop finish so strong that it destroys everything in its path. It’s so powerful it’s hard to review. Apparently the IBUs on this one is around 120 and I can believe it. The sharp scent on this draft pour is raw and smells like cough syrup. There is something likeable about this barley wine but I can’t put my finger on it, perhaps its surviving the intense ride. It’s not very drinkable though, a sipping beer for occasional use.

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Photo of ArrogantB
2.48/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle dated 2002. This was the Bull and Bush vintage beer of the month. This thing had absolutely no head which is not surprising for a barleywine. The color was a dark orange-brown and cloudy. I couldn’t pick up much smell from this beer. The taste was good with a hint of chocolate and a little nutty. I could taste the hops as well. The one thing I didn’t like is the “Rogue taste” I detect in all their beers. Maybe it’s the pacman yeast but I just don’t like it. The alcohol was fairly well hidden in the taste but I sure noticed it as soon as I was finished sipping. What a letdown, out of all the Rogue beers I have tried I only liked a 2004 Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
2.5/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Oh my lord, talk about bitter!

Now, I love my hops as much as the next BA, but sometimes a brew goes over the top and really kills it, this is definatly one of those.

Pours a dark and rich brown with red tones and a thick tan head, with a bit of retention. Nose is quite hoppy, a bit floral, traces of malt and a certain spiciness, nice. Taste is wicked, atrocious. This just is not my thing at all. I can taste some of the malt and some other miscellanious flavors, but the bitterness just destroy everything in it's path. Maybe some cellaring would even this one out, but as is... I'll definatly pass. I'm amazed I finished the bottle. This is one of those time I just am not seeing what most everyone around here seems to be thinking. The most I can say is at least it was quite warming, and the alcohol wasn't very apparent. Live and learn.


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Photo of ChadQuest
2.5/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This is a 2008 ceramic bottle, i got it at the store down the road from FFF a while back, really cool flip top bottle i'm sure ill use in the future, really lame price of $18.

The head doesn't last long, maybe it's because the % is around 11%, but it ends with a slighty cloudy brownish-red color, i can read this text through the edges but not the center.
The aroma is better then the flavors at this point, while the aromas give a brown sugar, brandy, and toasted/melted caramel and citrus rind likeness, the flavors come out with a bit of oxidation,sharp pointed solvent like alcohol, and zesty oranges and mixed malts. Drinkable, but this isn't the flavors i'm happy to pay $18 for. Mouthfeel is in the ballpark of sticky and coating and i'm going to brush my teeth soon.
I had to get this for the experience, and because it's a Barleywine(that's my tick catagory), but otherwise don't pay $18 for it, one of those 7oz bottles may be worth for the experience it if that happens.

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Photo of drperm
2.53/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sampled at Brewgrass '08.

I love Barleywine. After tasting this, though, I'm tempted to modify that statement: I love ENGLISH Barleywine. This stuff is nuts.

Appearance: Thick, cloudy goodness.

Aroma: Hops, mostly. After the first wave of hop aroma comes a hint of dry-hopped hops. Somewhere in there are some hints of cinnamon and cloves, too.

Taste: Cloyingly-sweet. And more hops. It's like biting directly into a hop cone, basically. With lots of syrupy sweetness. 120 IBUs? Give me a break.

Palate: Syrupy, with a nice spritz to make it swallowable.

Overall: No balance to be found here. If this is at all indicative of "American Barleywine style," then I'll be sticking to the English style from here out. I could have given it a lower rating, probably, but Brewgrass just put me in such a happy, chill mood.

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Photo of zeio
2.54/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I trust Draegers San Mateo to pick good beers from this list and others - but I had a 750 ml of old crustacean barley wine and it was vile. Could be a corked / bunk bottle, but this stuff was seriously unrefined, and I can take a foul arrogant bitter ale with the best of them, but this stuff was not worth the price. Shame on those who charge top buck for foul ups. I was chowing on Nice and McChouffe for a comparison and there was none. If you pay 10 - 15 for 500 - 750 mls, the stuff should be erotic. Rogue is now for me UNTRUSTED for charging and brewing this crap.

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Photo of benmiliron
2.57/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is high octane syrup. They used good malts and hops, but it's just too much. Super thick, super heavy. Would be better if it came in a 6 oz. bottle maybe? Burnt caramel, heavily hopped. Dark rust colored. It's a good warmer though. If you want barleywine, try Old Foghorn instead.

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Photo of jeranbrews
2.6/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - rusty red brown. Light low bone white head and lacing that slides down quickly.

S - sweet cherry sugars red wine and a bit of shampoo. Malty and estery. Bit of old cheese.

T - wow. Bitter. Too bitter. Hoppy. Not sweetness. No esters. Only the tiniest hint of strawberry. What is this? Surley it can't be barley wine. Was I not supposed to get this one on tap? Is this one that needed to be in the basement longer or less time?

M - so dry and bitter you can't tell

D - I realize this is an older American barely wine from before the days of the hop heads and DIPAs. And I know American and English barleywines are fundamentally different in this regard, but it is much much closer to an ipa or even dipa. What's the point of making all the amazing deep complex barleywine flavors if you are just going to bury them in a sawdust pile of hops? I can't recommend this beer as an accurate representation of barely wine

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Photo of clvand0
2.72/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured very dark and had a moderate head and moderate lacing on the glass. The aroma was somewhat complex and I couldn't tell anything particular in the smell. The taste was very strong and difficult to drink at first, but you become accustomed to it quickly. With the alcohol content, it shouldn't be hard to drink several of these if you can get past the first one. Not at all pleasing at first, but it doesn't matter much after that.

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Photo of Parrotshake
2.75/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

2008 bottle. Poured from one of those cool-looking ceramic bombers, rather than the bottle pictured above.

Nice dark brown with a reddish tinge to it, a finger or so of grey-ish head. Considerable lacing on the glass.

Smells of dried figs, palm sugar and rum. Awesome.

Dates and dried fruit and caramel malts right off the bat, then a big hit of warming booze, with like... coins and a little Vegemite in the finish, which is where it goes to hell for me. 110 IBUs is a lot, but the hops used in this one seem to make it astringent rather than just purely bitter. Bitterness is one thing, but this is just harsh. Murder on the palate - upon cracking this one I had a nice bit of dark fruit cake as well and instead of the pleasant match you'd expect, the cake served mostly as a brief and welcome respite from the assault going on in my mouth. Hmmm...

Mouthfeel is thinner than expected, with almost no carbonation.

Drinkability at 11.5% was probably never going to be particularly high, but combined with the sheer brutality of the Chinook hop bitterness it's much less so - there's not a lot to compel you to take another sip. I couldn't convince anyone else in the house to have more than a taste and set out to test my own endurance by polishing off the entire bomber - I'm not ashamed to say I quit with about 1/4 of the thing to go. Total battle of attrition.

On a technical level, I'm sure this beer achieved everything Rogue had in mind for it, and they're to be applauded as always for craftsmanship and thinking outside the box. This is "extreme beer", proper. As a guy who paid for it and had to drink it, I'm less objective. Outside of perhaps disciplining your kids should you catch them drinking underage, I can't think of any occasion for which this beer would be appropriate.

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Photo of waughbrew
2.76/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I am disappointed. While it is cool to be extreme, these 120 IBUs come off as just annoying to me, covering up any nice maltiness or sweetness that is pleasing in thick beers. The high-alpha hop sting is a little too piercing in the taste, and I really am not interested in having another.

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Photo of BlindPig
2.8/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from '97. Not sure if it is off but it has lost all carbonation.
A- No head what so ever on with a murky brown body.
S- Chocolate, alcohol, toffee, biscuit, and just a sweet caramel.
T- Pretty much follows the aroma. Still has a big bitterness to it (not as big as a fresh one). Alcohol heats back of throat with the lingering flavors of toffee, and chocolate. There is another flavor in there that I can't pick out. They are all pretty well blended together but I think it has passed its peak or just my bottle has.
M-No carbonation what so ever and a medium to full body.
D- Not to good. I think with a nice smooth carbonation it would of been quite a bit better. Just really strong and hot flavors. I would like to try one with about 5 years of age instead of 10.

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Photo of alexatlatx
2.8/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

1995 6.4oz twist-off bottle:

Aroma reminds me of sherry and soy sauce, not quite as bad as Sam Adams triple bock. My Fiancée on the couch can smell it from across the room

Flavor: meh? Dark chocolate, still pretty bitter.

The mouthfeel is pretty thin, zero carbonation.

Overall: Well, if you can get a bottle for $10, then it is worth a try. I bought this at the Toronado BW fest in 2007 and saved it until my bro came and visited. I had it in the fridge for 1.5 years. I hope the 1996 is better.

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Photo of GolgiIPAratus
2.8/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled 8.5.05

This was in the highly over priced ceramic 750ml bottle with an added “XS” to the name. I assume it means “Extra Special”, but it could be referring to the Extra Spent money when buying it.

A pour displayed a dark, nearly opaque whiskeyish looking liquid with little foam, and less retention.

A whiff was rich. Dark fruits sang the strongest tune over a caramel background. Malty and slightly bitter.

The first sip was a bitter blast! Damn! Rolling it around brought some more of the caramel in the aroma forward, but the only thing really strong enough to cut it was the alcohol. Too bitter. I'm disappointed, too. I opened this in a mini celebration, but I wish I had let it sit for, geez, two years?? I can't see the bitterness in this mellowing in any less, but that's my inexperienced palate talking. This had low carbonation in the mouth.

Drink it slow, it's too bitter for anything else. Not a crisp bitterness like an IPA either. And for a Barleywine style, it just baffles me. Bad bottle? Maybe, but I'll be trying the less expensive non-”XS” in the future if I get around to it.

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Photo of beertaster13
2.81/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice mahogany with deep mocha head, settles to about an inch thick. Lacing furiosly coating the glass. The smell is of plums and caramels roasted over hot coals. HInt of roasted oak. The taste is deep and rich, leaves and oaky taste in the mouth. Roasted toffee and sugar, full bodied, a little to deep for my taste.

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Photo of Rastacouere
2.82/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

2 yr old bottle Dark bronze hue with a small tan head. Aroma is hugely hoppy, piney with slight lactic notes of yogurt and a good chocolatey and caramelic malt presence. Taste is very hoppy, aggresively predominent bitterness that hides everything else: grapefruit and resin in abundance. Medium-bodied. Huge sipper that is worth a try, but definitely not my bag.

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XS Old Crustacean from Rogue Ales
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,274 ratings.
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