Old Scratch
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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Beer Geek Stats:
Lager - Vienna
Needs more ratings
3.82 | pDev: 0%
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
United States
Notes: Vienna Lager aged in used Labrot & Graham American & French oak whiskey barrels.
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3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."

--Winston Churchill

Varnished cherry wood brown-russet with orange and lemon highlights. A thick film of ecru colored cream was present to start, faded quickly, left the beer completely bald within minutes, and left the glass almost untouched. Possible culprits include the pour and/or barrel aging.

Old Scratch has an interesting pedigree to say the least. The base beer is a Vienna lager (possibly Cerveza Especial). It was aged in French oak barrels that had previously held bourbon whiskey and it was dry-hopped with Willamette. The easily appreciated aroma was tangy and fruity above all else.

As might be expected, this was a hard lager to get a handle on. It was almost reminiscent of a Flanders oud bruin, although it didn't taste 'brown' enough for that comparison to be valid. It was primarily tart, moderately bitter (with no hop flavor), and was impressively dry on the finish.

Specifics included toasted malt, tangy fruit (sour cherries), cold tea, wood, a small shot of bourbon and a tiny shot of applejack. The flavor profile was as interesting as its brewing history, and kept me engaged all the way to the bottom of the glass, but it wasn't as devilishly delicious as several recent offerings from this brewpub.

It looks like lower ABVs and barrel aging don't mix where mouthfeel is concerned. This one was on the thin side and was too gently bubbled to boot. More volume and a bit of 'hang on' would have worked out better.

Old Scratch is a unique creation that combines several elements that one doesn't usually run across in craft beer. Although it wasn't an entirely successful experiment from my point of view, it was still enjoyable beer that gave my taste buds a workout on this muggy Saturday afternoon.

Jul 17, 2010
Old Scratch from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 1 ratings