The Devil Went Down To Oregon (Devils Backbone Collaboration) | Ninkasi Brewing Company

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The Devil Went Down To Oregon (Devils Backbone Collaboration)The Devil Went Down To Oregon (Devils Backbone Collaboration)
Very Good
The Devil Went Down To Oregon (Devils Backbone Collaboration)The Devil Went Down To Oregon (Devils Backbone Collaboration)

Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: Rye Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
It might be a sin, but take the bet and you won’t regret this beer from start to end!

In a collaboration spanning Oregon’s bountiful Willamette Valley to Virginia’s heartland, Steve Crandall and Jason Oliver of Devils Backbone Brewing took the bet and gave the Devil his due when our founding brewer, Jamie Floyd, came ‘a-calling. What the trio first described as “a sort of West Coast, German-Style Roggenbier” turned into an Imperial Dark Rye, offering an elevated alcohol percentage and a crisp, lager-like finish from the Alt yeast fermentation. Give the Devil his due!

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 146
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nose of caramel, earthiness, rye malt, dates, apples. Taste moderate spicy rye, bread, dark fruit, nuts, molasses, brown sugar. Medium to full body with a slight bitter finish.

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Photo of stevoj
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful pour on this, medium brown with nice fluffy head, lots of sticky lacing. Aroma of hops and sour malt, rye grains coming through. Taste brings in the rye in full, slightly sour, hops temper the sourness a bit, full taste spectrum. Some hop bitterness lingers.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.31/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle. Darker brown. Smelled and tasted quite sweet. Raisins and caramel and spice. Some alcohol. Somewhat oxidized. Flavor was lingering and sweet with dark fruit and a bready finish. Medium bodied with a sticky ending. Almost chewy. Not very good.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a bulb pint glass.

Look is a dark amber mahogany with little to no head.

Lots of sweet malt on the aroma. A little over powering.

Taste is rich malty dry with a nice rye pepperiness.

Beer comes in a little strong on the sweetness but pretty good.

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Photo of papat444
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz bottle.

Pours a brass colored body with reddish tints in it. Average head but sheets of lacing make it real nice. Spicy rye is still quite present and i enjoyed this even if it has a bit of age.

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Photo of BodiesLexus
4.21/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled last December-ish. Strong rye beer should hold it's own for 10 months I figure. I won't let any faded hop components get in the way of an honest tasting.
Beautiful looking dark amber, or garnet red, ale with thick-ish 1.5 finger white head. Head retains a stately 1/8" bubbly cap that remains throughout, and lacing appears persistent if not sticky. Looks say it means business.
Smell is darker than expected. Lots of molasses, burnt barley, some dark grapes or cherries. Damnit, this smells incredible -- mix of scotch-ale-style burnt barley that's sweet on the nose, together with a bitter amber dankness, like 'black cherry smoke' (if that's a thing), with dark syrup.... Amazing smell.
Taste is in the same range of factors, but less so. Robust sweet vienna/amber base. Tad of tart cherry and floral twang in the middle. Finishing smooth but anonymous. Searching for the molasses and sweet/charred malts leaves me wanting.
Really robust red ale with some prominent darker notes. It's on the sweet side (which works for my tastes), but the huge/complex nose didn't totally come through on the taste. I can't complain, it's a fantastic strong red ale. Would have again and again if they ever did it.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.88/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: Bomber format. Busy label design. Branded black pry-off crown cap.

Reviewed live as a dark rye lager per the label.

7.20% ABV. 1075 OG. 72 IBUs.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~3 inches in width. Off-white/pale khaki. Adequately frothy and foamy. Appears soft.

BODY: Dark copper of average vibrance. Translucent, but nontransparent.No yeast is visible within.

Looks decent for a rye beer.

AROMA: Caramel. Rye's signature spiciness. Sticky sugars. Faint toastiness.

That's about it. It's a pretty reticent, simple aroma.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Rye's signature spice does kick in (especially on the climax), but it plays into the coarse dry feel of the beer - holding it back. Unrefreshing and overly heavy on the palate, with obvious overcarbonation and hints of syrupy notes. The mouthfeel is a bit of a mess, but the taste is much simpler and more straightforward.

Caramel. Malt syrup/extract. Amber malts. Bitter herbal notes. Rye malt.

These notes don't harmonize well, nor do they form a cohesive whole when combined. It's a decent beer of average flavour duration and intensity, but it does suffer from simplicity and shallowness, as well as missed opportunities for further intricacy and subtlety. This is a straightforward rye-dominant beer with little else to offer. Lacks the breadiness and savoriness/umami of great German roggenbiers.

OVERALL: Ho-hum stuff. Very forgettable. At bomber pricing, this isn't worth picking up. I have no desire for a second bottle. This checks the boxes of the style's conventions, but it comes up short when all things are considered. I'd steer clear of it; Ninkasi makes better beers at better prices. Not a bad brew per se...just uninspired and mundane. I like it, in that it's an average beer. Certainly drinkable for what it is, but unremarkable to the extent that I don't have any more notes about it.


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Photo of leaddog
3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a copper brown with a finger of bubbly tan head.

Smell - earthy hops, rye malts, dark fruits, hint of nuttiness and dark bread.

Taste - Rye malts at the forefront followed by a caramel sweetness. The dark fruits, earthy hops, hint of nuttiness, and dark bread help to round out the brew.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes with a lingering sweetness from the caramel.

Overall - An interesting brew that didn't know what direction it was going. The smell was misleading and the taste was more reminiscent of the style.

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Photo of Hydrophobic
4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Bomber into a tulip glass

Poured a nice brown which turned into a rich red when held up to the light. Did not seem to want to produce too much head, but the head it had was a nice cream color. Carbonation was perfect, presence of head was inverse to amount of bubbles. Soap scum head retention, spotty lacing (dissipating chem trail)

On the nose was a nice muted fig tone, malt and crying child. This beer is serving a purpose. Developed a burnt sugar character as the glass warmed, which was pleasant and perhaps indicative of the ideal serving temperature being between 'fridge' and 'room'

Any sweetness on the palate is dominated by bitter hops and a subtle rye spice. Minor burnt tongue tones. Wounded and distracted, I'm not at my best here. It tastes good, in a unique way. It is somewhat woody and alcoholic. I'm really failing to do it justice.

Mouthfeel is rough and tumble: does gymnastics on the palate, burns down the throat.

Overall, The Devil is wonderful in kind of a similar way bourbon is wonderful.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: ruby brown beer with good clarity; a big head formed easily and left great lacing down the glass

S: dark malts suggesting roasty, nutty, and toffee flavors; some herb and spice, some brown sugar and dark bread

T: rye malts and caramel sweetness, vague dark bread with molasses; muted by appreciable herbal and spice characteristics

M: smooth and light, subtle carbonation, slight stickiness, semi-sweet aftertaste

O: not typical of my interests in beer, this was nonetheless an enjoyable drink - nice flavors, like a brown ale, but with some rye action and a smoothness I associate more with lagers.

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Photo of delta490
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a beautiful deep clear brown with a thin rimming of white head. The aroma is mild, but with a nice peppery quality up against a rich malt sweetness. The taste is much the same, with a bit of light molasses coming through on the finish. The body has a nice thickness to it but has a good crisp finish.

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Photo of Dsimenson
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This ale deserves a much better rating! Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Pilsner.
A: deep auburn color, crytal clear, 1 1/2" head invites you to try to walk across it. mild persistent lacing
S: musty, fruity, prunes, malt, caramel, a heady aroma worthy of meditation
T: up front is moderately bitter hops, transitions to malt and rye, slight caramel, a bit of the alcohol
M: full, medium thick, not quite creamy or chewy, very satisfying
O: a delightful, outstanding, rich and enjoyable experience! I will revisit this soon!

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Photo of Beaver13
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Pours clear red amber with a big frothy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is subdued - chocolate malt and rye.

The flavor is sweet bready chocolate malts with a lot of spicy rye, a little fruit, and a bigger than expected bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, I enjoyed this. It's nicely balanced.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Brilliant ruby tinted chestnut under a finely bubbled lightly tan timted ½” white foam cap that is persistent and lacy.
S: Spicy malt with traces of roast and light fruit.
T: Mellow roast and rye flavors suggesting pumpernickel with a trace of prune and a little sweetness. Finishes dryer with some astringency and a clean bitterness suggestive of coffee without the burnt flavors.
M: Very creamy, chewy, clean, smooth with moderate carbonation.
O: A good drinkable rye.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.54/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle served in a large mug. If there's a date or a code, I don't see it.

Pours dark brown, cloudy, with a little head. Somewhat translucent. Head fades slowly. Smell is reminiscent of a bock, oddly enough. Yeasty and dark.

Taste is heavy rye spice, heavy dark roast, more of that bock (or dopplebock) dark sweetness.

Mouthfeel is thick, heavy, a little gritty. Overall, not bad, but too sweet for me.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a finger of head on a clear medium straw body.
The aroma is dry rye, lemon and barnyard.
The taste has a moderate bitterness throughout, lemon and grapefruit, then pine and spice to finish.
The texture is crisp with a medium body.
A solid rye ale.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle purchased from Roth’s Sunnyslope Market in S.Salem OR $4.59 Darker amber/garnet coloured ale with a large thick and creamy light tan head. Malty solid coffee .spice and a bit of hop nice. Taste is like the aroma but with a bit more rye spiciness. Nice soft bodied ale. Good beer in moderation.

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Photo of dertyd
2.87/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

it started out with almost no smell at all, the taste was very sweet with caramel vanilla malt and then went extremely bitter making it not that drinkable. maybe if I aged it for some months or years the bitterness will go away and it would be a wonderful beer I still love Ninkasi one of my favorite breweries

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thick swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, rye, earth, and caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, caramel, earth, spicy rye, and herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of rye and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice mix of rye and caramel qualities, but the fairly assertive bitterness diminishes the drinkability for me a bit.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of ThaCrax
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Wasn't quite what I expected, but its still quite good. As long as you keep an open mind and don't let your expectations guide you I think you will like the journey. I got lots of dark fruit, toffee, brown sugar, bark, burnt malt. Mouthfeel and body were a bit thin. Spice apparent on the aftertaste, but not much Rye in the mix flavor-wise. Overall, definitely worth a try.

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Photo of vkv822
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz : tulip

Pours a dark amber brown with a thick, foamy off white head.

Lightly fruity, nutty, roast notes. Toffee, lightly spicy rye notes.

A quite well done Rye Beer. Tasty, unique flavor without becoming too much.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber served cold into a goblet.

The Devil Went Down to Oregon is a dark brown color with good clarity. The head is thick with good retention and lacing.

Aroma is an interesting balance of malty sweet, hoppy, and slight oxidation.

Flavor is sweet up front with the hop bitterness coming through along with the rye from middle to end. The oxidation is subtle but I pick it up in the taste as well as the smell.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated. Good balance and drinkable.

Overall not a bad beer but maybe a bad bottle.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a pint on tap at Beer Revolution in Calgary. A dark ruby red brew with two fingers of creamy beige foam and a sweet yet spicy nose. Ripe pineapple, mango, and bubble gum mix with sweet toffee, rum, and brown bread crust.

Palate is similarly fruity and sweet but there is a countervailing dry spicy bitterness. The peppery rye spice is there but this is almost a rye IPA in terms of the fruity hops from the nose taking the lead over a rich brown sugar backbone. A few cherry and prune notes lurk in the background. 7.2% abv makes its presence known after a few sips, along with some flinty dryness. Stout mid-range body and gentle to moderate carbonation. Finishes quite hoppy, spicy, and clean considering the initial sweetness.

Some may find this overly sweet. The right at beer at the right time can make all the difference. I can sort of get the Roggenbier comparison.

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Photo of plakers
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Amazingly clear for a dark beer, a nice tan head led to lacing that clung the entire glass, mild malty smell. The rye didn't really standout , great caramel taste. Malty taste but a bit thin body, good residual bitterness. A nice special release,

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Photo of BastardKing24
4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I have enjoyed Ninkasi beers for over 3 years now, I had their IPA and double IPA,enjoyed in CA, right after they opened in OR. I was impressed by this brewery, and bought 22oz bottles of it several times after trying it. This beer changed the way I think about them once again. I Moved to OR a year ago and have gotten to try lots of their more rare stuff, Like Imperiale, Vanilla Oatis, and Critical Hit. I came across this new one in a multi-pack, and snatched it up fast. Very interesting brew, and a bit different from their usual style while considering its a collaboration.

I got a nice dark maroon pour from this one. Not a lot of head, but still dark like it says on the label. kind of tan head that lasted for 30 secs. Ruby when held up to light. Looks rather viscous when swirled.

Smell is of yeasty goodness, cocoa, prune, dark roasted smell, but kinda fruity. Not a huge aroma on this, as it is sort of subdued.

Taste is very unique to me compared to other rye ales I've had. Starts out with a creamy sweet flavor that gives notes of dark fruit and brown sugar, but not too strong or thick. It is a nice light punch of Caramel malts. Next is a spiciness from the rye, and some decent hoppiness. Finish is semi-dry with a lingering caramel flavor. Basically this is as sweet as a beer can be without being cloying or overly sweet.

Feel is medium carb, and a slick feel that doesn't finish real deep, its a quick dip into the malt and sugar that lets up after 5 seconds into a crisp bitter rye aftertaste.

Overall I am pleased with this brew, and can't wait to see what new stuff they come out with. Devil went down to Oregon is a surprise that most beer geeks will appreciate.

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The Devil Went Down To Oregon (Devils Backbone Collaboration) from Ninkasi Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 146 ratings