Devil's Due
DuClaw Brewing Company

Devil's DueDevil's Due
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American Strong Ale
4.09 | pDev: 7.58%
DuClaw Brewing Company
Maryland, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Devil's DueDevil's Due
Notes: The perfect balance of Retribution Imperial Stout and Devil’s Milk Barleywine, Devil’s Due is black, full-bodied, and smoothly drinkable. Its seductive swirl of dark chocolate, coffee, smoky malt, and citrus fruit flavors, infused with notes of charred oak, vanilla and caramelized sugar, disguises a strong, warming alcohol presence (11% abv) that reminds those who dance with the Devil that eventually, a price will be paid.
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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 140 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

As I continue to winnow through the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody, I am finding beers that I do not even remember purchasing! In fact, I have so many DuClaw beers hanging around that I am embarking on a horizontal tasting for the next few days. This should be interesting.

From the bottle: "This blend of Retribution Imperial Stout & Devil’s Milk Barleywine-Style Ale will claim your soul with a mix of chocolate, coffee, smoky malt & notes of charred oak, vanilla, & caramelized sugar. The Milkman cometh, so pop the top and ... settle your debt!"; "Respect_the_Fluid".

Yeah, I'm getting into the big boys as this horizontal begins to wind down. The bottling date is 12/08/14, making it just over two years old. I helped it to celebrate its near-birthday with a Pop! of the cap, followed by a gentle pour. An in-glass swirl raised a finger of foamy, dark-brown head with decent retention. Nose smelled so strongly of smoke that I began to worry that the fire alarm might activate. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Warming, the nose began to give off scents of dried, dark fruits; leather; heavy smoke & a woodiness that was simply amazing. Mouthfeel was medium and I frankly expected more body in such a beer. The taste was ... what is the opposite of miraculous? A miracle would be evocative of Heaven, while this was meant to evoke Hell. It would be like trying to equate Angel's Food Cake with Devil's Food Cake. Totally opposite ends of the spectrum. The taste was truly dark and dense with an amalgam of flavors and tastes that made me think of a Brueghel painting. It tasted like an unholy orgy, involving forked tails, protruding tongues and more sins than have been enumerated to date. Where to start? Coffee; chocolate; leather; dark, dried fruits; smoke; wood and caramel all made an appearance. OMFG! Oops. This is of the Devil, so no invoking of his counterpart. Well, be that as it may, this was mighty tasty! Finish was dry, more as a result of so many things going on at once, accompanied by a mild heat. I think that this is a good point to put on the brakes & hit the rack.

Tomorrow ... the grand finale to this horizontal! It has been an interesting run, but other breweries await their chance at me.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 12/08/14 (and cellared for almost two years) into pint glass. Pours a very dark ruby brown with a modest tan head. Initial impression is reminiscent of dark chocolate pudding, with notes of caramel, bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, and dark fruits. Very complex. Very smooth. Very drinkable. Alcohol is not at all evident in the taste, but makes its warming presence known after the fact. Retired? That is really too bad!

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Photo of brentk56
4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours quite dark, like espresso, with a rocky beige head; impressive lacing and legging

Smell: Chocolate fudge, caramel, pine, vanilla and dark fruit, all ensconced in Bourbon

Taste: The Bourbon, chocolate fudge, vanilla and caramel flavors swirl together, on the front end, with the pine and dark fruit (raisin and fig) building through the middle; after the swallow, the piney bitterness builds a bit but the mellow flavors from the stout bring up the rear; nougaty and slightly smoky in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: Tremendous complexity accrues from the interplay between the barleywine and the stout; the flavors keep swinging back and forth

Thanks, Shaler_Tate, for the opportunity

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Photo of BullDoza
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark, translucent brown. Settles very dark. Black. Deep brown on the edges. Little to no head. More a light khaki colored film or ring.

N: Bourbon. Plenty bourbon straight away. Vanilla and chocolate. Caramel - like burnt sugar. Also, a mushroom like earthiness; there's the barrel. There is a lot going on here, and I like it.

T: Chocolate and a little vanilla sweetness up front. The barrel is there in the form of bourbon-y heat. The taste is where the barleywine character comes in to play. Tons of dark fruits. Black cherry and raisin. The barleywine used has to be an American, because there is definitely a hop presence apparent in the bitter on the back of the palate. Good, but I do wish there was more of what the nose brought.

F: On the lighter side of medium. Thinner than I prefer my BA stouts, but not offensive.

O: Stout on the nose. More barleywine on the taste with the dark fruits and bitterness provided by the hops. Definitely unique, and a pretty successful blend of, what the bottle says, is two beers: an imperial stout and a barleywine.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Acquired from mwrecording so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a short beige head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, bourbon, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon. Then a hearty malt character comes in along with some creaminess. A bit of smokiness creeps into the background. The hops presence is mild as you would expect but brings a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth as well as viscous, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky but quite clean for the style.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, very strong kick, good blend of styles, this is a very good beer to sip on for a long time.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a quarter of a finger of caramel-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Very aromatic, with lots of toasted malt up front, followed with lots of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes, apricots, and lots of brown sugar and oak, dark chocolate, and a touch of vanilla. Very complex, inviting and delicious!

Taste: Exactly the same as the aroma! Lots of toasted malt up front, followed with lots of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes, apricots, and lots of brown sugar and toffee-like sweetness, oak, dark chocolate, and a touch of vanilla. Very complex, inviting and delicious! I’m amazed at how well the two beers, a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine and a bourbon barrel-aged stout, meld without clashing. Rather they are very complementary to each other. Really, really, delicious!

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and extremely smooth as there is no carbonation, what-so-ever. With an ABV of 11%, there is a very pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is an excellent, excellent beer by DuClaw! Combining two of my favorite beers from them into one spectacular beer is a brilliant idea and one that pay off in a delicious quaff! I’m certainly getting a few more sixers of this to age and see how it matures. That being said, its’ spectacular fresh! Highly recommended!

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Photo of JamesStreet
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- pours black with little head
S- smells of chocolate, brown sugar, rum cake, molasses, pretty nice on the nose. Different.
T- bourbon oak, chocolate cake, I can't say I've smelled/tasted anything like this. Kudos
M- medium feel, mild carb.
O- Wow ! Can't say I've tasted a beer quite like this! Unique for sure.

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle 12/8/2014. Very dark brown pour, not quite black. Thin tan head on this one that clings to the edge of the glass. Very nice, strong barrel notes. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, fudge brownie, dark chocolate, roast, caramel, dark fruits, citrusy hops, lots of sweetness and faint booze. Coats the mouth fully with big flavors. Nice carbonation to prevent it from being cloying

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Photo of WorldWideStout
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

I will preface this by saying that I think Retribution is a delightful beer, and have never been too impressed with Devil's Milk. A fellow beer aficionado also told me that he was duly underwhelmed by this beer, so I did not go in with inflated expectations.

A: Dark brown, around one finger of head that dissipates fairly quickly.

S: Pretty terrific. Plenty of bourbon, brown sugar, and butterscotch. It reminds me a lot of this good cake I had one time at a church choir party which had a crap ton of bourbon in it. It was delicious, but probably could have been more balanced.

T: Very bourbon-centric. It's a bit too much for me, but if you like bourbon, man you'll like this. There is also plenty of sweetness. Not much of an aftertaste, surprisingly. This beer tastes like a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine. No stout to be found, really.

M: Actually a bit more carbonated and thinner in the body than I was expecting. I always struggle with how to rate this category, as my comments mean that it is more drinkable, but less rich. Which is more important?

O: A tasty beer. I would personally prefer less bourbon. I consider Devil's Milk to be an American-style barleywine (can't remember how it is categorized on here), but either the bourbon barrels or the small amount of Retribution present in this beer has turned it into more of an English barleywine, my favorite style. I think it is more refined than a fresh Insanity, but not at the level of MoAS. Definitely recommended, especially at the price point, and I think aging for a year or so could do good things. Getting a few stout flavors in here would have made this phenomenal.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Jet black pour and a thin lacing ring the dissipates to leave a thin lacing.

S - Dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, dark molasses, I'm also getting a hint of sourness.

T - Oak, bourbon, light char, vanilla, sugary tartness (very light), dark molasses, and black cherries. Oak and bourbon are quite dominant.

M Medium body and alcohol effervescent, sticky.

O - This beer is a blend of Divine Retribution and Devil's Milk, I much prefer both of these on their own.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A nice big beer from Duclaw. Vanilla and bourbon is noticed and some hop crispness in the finish. 11% is well disguised. Very well done and is a great beer for a cold winter night.

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Photo of uvachief
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle into a brandy sniffer. Pours dark purple black with almost zero head from an aggressive pour. Hope this isn't a bad bottle. Smells like oak, vanilla, roasted malts with dark fruits and caramelized sugar. Tastes much the same. While the high ABV is subdued, it is quite present. Doesn't necessarily burn going down but not far from it. Nice roasted malts and vanilla in the after taste. Excellent imperial stout.

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Photo of KYGunner
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured thick black with an impressive crown of tan foam. Nose is brilliant with decadent caramel, toffee, chocolate, coconut, vanilla, barleywine, bourbon and lactose.

The flavors emulate the nose well with a creaminess that's top notch. The bourbon, coconut and vanilla is front and center. The lactose-sweetness is reminiscent of marshmallows. It ends with caramel, toffee, molasses, and chocolate.

Very impressed with this as its my first DuClaw.

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Photo of DIM
3.74/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I wonder what the ratio of barleywine to stout is?

This was pretty close to black, there was a little amber around the edges. It poured with a medium sized off white head.

The ratio seems tilted towards stout in the nose, lots of chocolate here. I also found a decent amount of bourbon and vanilla, plus maybe a little coconut. Maybe a little cherry as well.

The flavor comes across as stout-heavy as well but not to the same extreme. I tasted some cherry and toffee towards the end that were barleywine-esque. Up front this was all stout, plenty of rich chocolate with some light char. Nice bourbon and vanilla notes mid-palate. The finish was a bit rough though, lots naked wood and a too-strong raw alcohol burn. Body was pretty typical of barrel aged beer, oily rather than chewy.

Overall I liked this one. It's probably one the cheapest barrel aged beer you'll find as well. If I came across 4 packs I'd buy 1 or 2, not quite good enough for a case purchase though.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Dawson's in Severna Park. Pours dark brown and settles extra dark bron with a big creamy khaki brown head. Big bourbon notes wafting off the top of this one, lots of caramel, vanilla, marshmallow, oak. Flavor starts with a big hit of bourbon, some alcohol heat, but mellows into a beautiful caramel vanilla flavor, oakiness, and chocolate. Pretty nice. Pretty rich palate though not super thick and syrupy, low to medium carbonation, bit of an okay dryness on the finish. The bourbon rules this one, but it rules it well. Imagine this would age nicely as the heat mellows out, too.

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Photo of SteveB24
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

look- jet black in color, pours a finger of tan colored head that settles into a thin ring of lacing, very typical of the style.
Smell- Nice, rich aroma. Bourbon comes through first, followed by notes of dark chocolate, hints of coffee and some dark fruity sweetness, but not much.
Taste- Dark chocolate, espresso, hints of vanilla and tobacco from the oak in the finish. not overly sweet at all.
Feel-Full bodied and oily, as is common for the style, carbonation is surprisingly present.
Overall- very nice bourbon barrel stout, not in the leagues of FW Parabola or BCBS but fans of stouts and bourbon barrel stouts are sure to enjoy it.

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Photo of larryi86
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Black with a two finger tan head.

S- Charred oak, bourbon, vanilla, dark fruits, cherries, chocolate, sweet but not too sweet.

T- Chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla, bourbon, oak, coffee finish, not too sweet, good balance.

M- Pretty smooth, high carbonation, medium body, but a little on the little side.

O- For being under $3 a bottle this a a good value. Mouthfeel is way too light. I enjoyed this beer and would buy it again, better than the first batch of Retribution. Price point is why I will buy this again, if this cost more I would pass.

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Photo of tkdchampxi
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looking for something that's close to BCBBW? This isn't bad at 1/3 the price and nowhere near the rareness. Just missing a little of the dark fruit depth and smoothness. What a gem! Fantastic!

Color is practically pitch black. Lacing is a bit thin, with a small head that is less than the carbonation should provide.

Aroma is the only thing lacking, with a touch more rubbing alcohol (like cheap bourbon) than something more high quality.

If the mouthfeel were a bit more thick, with less carbonation, it'd be even better.

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Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color—only slot traces of brownish red are visible at the extreme corners of the glass when it is held up to the light. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a short head covering the surface and lots of bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of bourbon and the associated vanilla are present in the nose.
T: Much like the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of bourbon from the barrel aging process and has some initial flavors of vanilla and latter flavors of charred oak towards the finish.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some warming from the alcohol. It feels a little light for the style.
O: This would make for a nice beer to slowly sip and enjoy on a cold winter night. Except for the bourbon, the underlying alcohol is very well masked. It isn't as heavy on the body compared to other stouts of this caliber.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a hint of amber, but settles into the glass as a pitch black body with a foamy tan head. Aroma is of sweet bourbon, vanilla and dark fruits. Really embodies the combo of retribution and devils milk. Based on the aroma I would guess this is a 60/40 blend of retribution and devils milk. The flavor has a decent balance, but I am not sure if this combo provides the best flavors. The strong, sweet vanilla/oak/bourbon flavors give way to dried fruit and a hint or bitterness. Still good flavors, but I am not sure if the blends make either beer better. Mouthfeel is fine, medium carbonation and slightly thinner than a big stout. Overall, this beer is good. I like both base beers, retribution is fantastic to me, but I don't think the blend makes either better. Still, for the price this beer is a great value and a very solid option regardless.

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Photo of Dominic_Decoco
4.61/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: dark black, light head, not much lacing
Smell: bourbon barrel, slight raisins
Taste: strong bourbon and molasses on the front, pretty light on the back end
Feel: medium thickness, not as thick as other BA stouts but thicker than most non BA stouts
Overall: excellent brew from Duclaw, might be my most favorite yet, might not be as good as the big time barrel aged stouts but def worth seeking out, especially at a $2.39 price tag for a single... compared to $11.00 for a BCBS

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a MD snifter

A: Pours nice and black, but is really a deep dark brown. Tiny collar, and almost no head.
S: Lightly hoppy with a lots of sweet roasted malt.
T: The flavors are just fighting each other and currently the barleywine is winning, with this weird bitter-y sweetness that is a bit sticky. Just a weird blend. It isn't really cloying but has an aspect of it. Just comes across as a mess.
M: Quite aggressive carbonation, especially considering the style of bourbon barrel stout (blended with a barleywine).
O: I kind of splurged and bought a bunch because they were fairly cheap, but I think I will be returning these. This seems like a badly done blend of BCBS and their un-barreled barleywine (if they have one). The carbonation really hurts this brew and it seems like there is a lot more Devil's Milk in there than Retribution.

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Photo of themind
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer is listed as a strong ale, its a bourbon barrel stout. This monster clocks in at 11% and it resembles BCBS. Its carbonation is a little off for me as BCBS is the benchmark for brews like this. I picked up a few 12oz bottles and will age one to see what happens. Overall this is a very good beer, the few ratings listed to me are low...very low. In the end, this brew is a sipper that's worth the few bucks it cost me.

Bottom Line: it's a good, quality, heavy duty BB stout.

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Devil's Due from DuClaw Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 140 ratings