Small Batch Series No. 1: Oak-Aged Rye OPA | Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling

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Small Batch Series No. 1: Oak-Aged Rye OPASmall Batch Series No. 1: Oak-Aged Rye OPA

Brewed by:
Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
Texas, United States

Style: Rye Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RuckusDu on 05-24-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 63
Photo of Phelps
4.02/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Oak-aged rye oatmeal pale ale. This beer is a re-brew of UNO, Ranger Creek's one-year anniversary beer released in 2011, although the malt bill has rye added and the brew was aged in oak barrels for a month. Into a tulip.

Slightly hazed tangerine, with one finger of big-bubbled, shock-white froth. Remains as a thin top layer.

Good aroma, can be smelled from a foot away. Very floral, rose, lavender. Tangerine and honey blend. A touch of oaky vanilla.

Tangerine and lavender in the flavor, sweet and bright. Oaky as well, nice green wood flavor. Mild bitterness, fairly sweet.

Mild, poking carbonation. Medium-light, slightly watery body. Hops are almost spicy. 3

A very tasty pale ale. Complex, bright.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.1/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle dated 4/9/12.

Appearance - Deep golden clear body. Nice white head. Retains a thick collar and some wisps.

Smell - Yeasty, sweet, kinda Belgiany. Some oak and sweetness. Maybe rye?

Taste - Malty, like a belgian pale. Lots of esters. No rye. Slightly sweet and oaky. Slight medicinal note in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Way over carbonated. Medium body.

Overall - Very meh. Not a lot of rye. What the hell is an OPA?

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Photo of Boto
3.91/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

375ml bottle: Thanks Kaggie! The first think I liked about this was how easy it was to get the wax off to pop the cap! The beer pours a fairly clear amber color. There was a small off-white head that doesn’t linger long. An interesting aroma. It is befinitely old and musty smelling. Pineapple, citrus and oak dominate the nose. A bit of rye and spices in there also. The taste is good. Definitely dry and oaky flavors. Rye, some malts, spices, hints of fruit (pineapple and apricot), and a few other subtle items. Very nice!

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Photo of jlindros
4.14/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Interesting looking beer, thanks to ApostleBrewing

Pours a decent looking fizzy but thick 1 finger head that fades at a med pace with nice layered lacing, over a fairly clear golden slightly coppery orange colored beer.

Nose blasts with a rye aroma, so much fruity rye, and possibly bit of wild funk or good infection, a nice orange peel citrus hop, a big toasty oak with a little caramelized oak fibers like aroma, and little grassy earthy hop character. The more I nose it the more I think that possible wild character is just the crazy rye and oak characters coming through strong, but only the taste will tell.

Taste brings plenty of oak at first, a little buttery toasted oak, actually a lot of that. Rye is strong again with a big spicy and fruity character, but I also think there is some wild funk and little wild yeast character, I really think there Brett in this, I'm almost positive, as a horsehair funk starts to really come through, combines with the fruity rye and buttery toasty oak for a nice flavor. Some sweet caramel malts under all that, with a little toasty reddish malt too and almost syrupy. Finish is dry and quite fruity, some fruity slightly citrus hops kicking in, with more Brett funk and fruity rye lingering with a touch of sticky syrupy malt.

Mouth is med bodied, nice fluffy carb.

Overall if that's a Brett infection on purpose it's quite a nice beer, if not, then it's still good but not what they intended. A great rye character and nice buttery toasty oak, with decent malt to back it all up and very faint hops overall. The Brett really puts it all together nicely as it plays with the other flavors.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.13/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

UPDATED: May 2013

With a year on this the color and appearance are impressive as it pours a solid auburn amber hue with thick creamy foam.

There’s a subdued aroma with some floral notes come out.

Because of some of the criticism I’ve read I was surprised how well the flavor held up, with a filling spiciness from the rye and a noticing contribution from the French oak. A surprising winner. Makes me wish I had another to check out in four more years.

Original review:

The first thing about this beer is the horrendously nasty smell of … the wax. Yes, the wax. People have commented elsewhere about how the wax smells. I laughed it off—and then I smelled it for myself. Honestly, I thought something had rotted in my fridge. Turned out it was just the wax on this bottle. Cut it out, peel it off, wash your hands, and don’t let it touch the beer.


All that said, this poured a warm golden amber color with lasting foam. It has a floral character to it, with a light aroma that hides some hints of tropical fruit under the floral, spring-time aroma. It has a real pleasing flavor with a pleasant effervescence that keeps the flavors lively on the palate. Lightly hopped, in many ways reminiscent of a Belgian IPA in that the hop presence is balanced or complemented by the characteristics of the yeast (in a ‘Belgian IPA’) or, most likely in the case of this beer, the qualities from barrel-aging. That barrel-aging in French oak imparts a good deal of zestiness, some spice, and the floral notes. Finishes dry.

Not a bad beer. The 375 mL bottle was about $6. Which is more than I tend to pay—but, ironically enough, if this was in a 750 cork and caged bottle I wouldn’t think twice of paying $12 for it. Go figure. Stink wax aside, the contents were really enjoyable. It resembled Ranger Creek’s Uno, which resembled their OPA, but this beer was distinct enough to stand on it’s own. Like a relative where you catch the family resemblance but realize it has its own personality.

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Photo of KKB
3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A – Body is translucent orange/brown/copper with two fingers of white head that cling a little bit to the glass I’ve seen better looking beers for certain, but this looks pretty nice.

S – There is a wonderful spicy rye aroma in the head backed up by hops, and an earthy/grass clippings element as well. It smells very nice actually.

T – Very fine! Very interesting! It comes on tangy, sweet and fruity, before the bitter and spicy rye/hops overtake it and gradually provide you with a dryer finish. The beer changes dramatically in your mouth. I haven’t tasted anything quite like this before though and I have to say this is pretty gosh darn time passes though it becomes a little bit cloying and I don't really love it. Not bad though.

M – The mouthfeel is medium with about medium carbonation as well. Nothing special though.

O – This is definitely a very interesting beer, and a hell of an attempt. There are parts of each of the individual aspects that I really enjoy, but overall it doesn’t quite come together for me. Bravo for the effort, and with some tweaks this could be really good, but for the moment I’m just going to say it’s at least good and definitely interesting.

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Photo of roblowther
3.17/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours cloudy golden in color with a dense, thin off-white head that settles quickly. Smells of hops, oranges, and leather. Taste is slightly funky, with peppery notes and a sharp finish. The rye shows up but the whole affair is a bit astringent. The aftertaste gets a bit harsher as the beer goes down, hops and slight barnyard. ish. Mouthfeel is nicely slick but a tad less carbonated than I would prefer. Overall, not one of my favorites. Tastes like they were going for an interesting combination that just didn't quite gel.

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Photo of DRyan
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Ranger Creek tulip. Bottled 4/9/12, opened 11/26/12.

A: Pours a ruddy orange/gold with some thick white head that lasts for a bit and then laces
S: Reminds me of a Jester King Boxer's Revenge. Very "wild ale" barnyard funk sourness to the scent.
T: Opens with some funk, followed by a hop bite, and a little maltiness on the exit. The funk is very heavy in the aftertaste as well. Having had the fresh OPA on tap at Ranger Creek, I am completely surprised how much this is NOT like that! SB#1 is a completely different animal than the OPA on which it is based. A little bit of that is the addition of the rye, but the majority of the difference is from the aging in barrels and the introduction of some wildness from those barrels.
M: Spicy, zesty, it has fine bubbles that tickle the tongue.
D: Not one to be chugged. It is a fine sipper, and highly recommended for fans of wild ales.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1562nd Review on BA
Bottle to Woodshop Snifter
375 Ml Waxed Bottle

Bottled 4-9-12
Thanks to Shoky01 for this

App- A bit of a multi-colored orange with some popping colors. A bit clearer in the glass with a small 1" head that was a bit quick to leave. A nice bit of lace and cling down the glass.

Smell- It was okay. It was a bit of an off malt with some stinging booze. The deep citrus was a nice touch, but overall these aromas seems to work against vs. with eachother. The barrel added a good depth of a charred wood and the rye added a decent spicy nose.

Taste- I thought it was alright. Glad it came in a 375 vs. a 22 or a 750. I think that wouldve been too much for this beer. Similar to the nose, the flavors of this one compete to much. A big rich caramel base battles with the hops and citrus flavors and the barrel adds like the nose a bit of char and the rye seemed to be an afterthought.

Mouth- I didnt really care for the feel on this one. It was a bit too light and prickly. The body was a lighter-medium with a pretty steep carbonation level. Residual flavors were of the spice, malts and deep citrus zest.

Drink- It was okay. Not something I would revisit.

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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey color with a very nice foamy head; plenty of squiggles of lace are left behind

Smell: The spicy rye aroma dominates, with grain and an earthy hop element, underneath

Taste: Tangy and spicy rye, up front, with lemony hops and a Bretty aspect that dominate the profile; underneath, there are subtle fruit flavors, such as papaya and pineapple but they appear mainly in the middle as the beer finishes as it starts

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: An interesting beer, but I think I would rack it up as an experiment that didn't quite work out; the website doesn't mention Brett but it is clearly in the yeast profile; somehow it doesn't all come together though it is not objectionable

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled 04.09.12. Tulip glass.

A: Pours an opaque golden with a half finger of snow white head, receding to a sloppy foam on the ring and surface.

S: Lots of brett and lemon, new oak and a little vanilla and spice and rye bread.

T: Dry and kind of a harsh wood tannic quality foremost, a little sour citrus. Taste is kind of off, maybe under attenuated?

M: Medium body and light carbonation.

O: Nose is good but taste is lacking.

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.32/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had a 375mL bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - This beer pours a hazy blood orange with some white head, but not much. The head dissipated pretty quickly.

S - A good amount of rye and spice on the nose with just a little fruitiness, and then a smidgen of oak/cedar.

T - I mainly get on the palate that which I smelled on the nose, rye, spice, and some citrus and hops. On the finish, there is a little oak, reminiscent of the barrels it was aged in.

M - Light to medium - bodied, not very chewy.

O - I enjoyed this beer, but I think that it could have used a little more depth for what it is, a rye OPA. I guess I expected more out of a small batch series than what I was presented with in this beer.

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Photo of omnigrits
3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tall goblet.

A. Hazy orange-amber with a white head. The head stayed around to the end and left some lace.

S. Plenty of rye spice up front with a little fruitiness but also a strong hint of mustiness and funk.

T. More rye spice, some citrusy hop flavours and more of that funk, but if there's brett in there it's relatively muted. A really nice dry finish.

M. A little on the thin side.

O. This beer started off really well but as I got further into it I started to feel like it could have been so much more. I liked both OPA and UNO, and if the brett in this beer was intentional, it would have been so much better had Ranger Creek gone for it with more gusto. The rye and the brett funk go together so well but it feels half-hearted, so for me it's 'close, but no cigar'.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Bottled 4/9/12

Pours a clear honey orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, spice, fruit, and yeast. Taste is much the same with a spice finish on the aftertaste. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but not something I would most likely seek out again.

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Photo of champ103
3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a bright hazy orange/red color. A two finger white head forms that sticks around for a minute. The head gently recedes to a ring and rings of lace are left.
S: A big fruity aroma up front. Mango, peaches, and a great bready/biscuity rye aroma.
T: That mango, peachy flavor that was in the nose is up front. Biscuit, rye malt comes next for balance. An incredibly odd bitterness/woodyness lingers on forever. I really puckering/bitterness/dryness in the aftertastes that I am not really enjoying.
M/D: A medium body and good carbonation. Really dry and puckering, and a little thin. The odd mix of bitter/woody/dryness makes this a little harder to drink and enjoy than I would like.

This does not seem to be infected, but the odd wood flavors and strange bitterness makes this a one and done.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml waxed bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. Do not smell the have been warned.

Pours with a hazy, burnt orange hue that fades to golden edges. The foam holds up nicely, leaving a wisp and ring of small khaki bubbles along the edge of the glass. Aroma suggests lighter notes of tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, pear), while the malt is clean and simple with a kiss of rye bread. Brett in the nose adds a nice layer of funk to the background.

The crispness of the rye shines in the flavor, with a snappy bite that compliments the chewy smoothness of the oats. Hops are citric and bitter, and the Brett adds a dry funkiness to the finish. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium-bodied, with a tight, light carbonation level. All in all, a tasty anniversary release from Ranger Creek. Whether the Brett was intended or not, it still turned into a quaffable beer. Not sure how it will age, though. Also, CHANGE THAT WAX! :D

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Photo of beeragent
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass from a bottle.

A - pours a hazy medium gold, forming a 1/4 inch white head, and a bit of sediment in the finish. Medium lace.

S - odd aroma. Slightly Belgian, like a saison. Not much in hops.

T - slight tartness from the rye. Very clean with some hop bitterness in the finish. Odd unknown flavor throughout that I can't seem to identify.

M - a bit on the thin side. Moderate carbonation.

O - I've had a few rye beers before, but none with as much tartness in the flavor. Very unique. Not a bad beer and goes down easy.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.23/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a light amber color with a white head. The aroma has some tart wheat and a bit of toffee, but overall is a little faint. The flavor is more pronounced. I get quite a bit of lemon and other tart wheat, as well as some oak and a hint of funk. While I like sour beers, this one comes across as a bit harsh and makes it a bit difficult to drink. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

[After reading some other reviews, I am not sure if this beer is supposed to be a brett beer or supposed to have any sourness/tartness to it, or if it was just an infection due to the oak aging. Not really sure what to think of it, although I didn't mind it overall.]

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Photo of Atlas1
2.63/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Purchased one bottle of this at Central Market here in SA last week. I was interested that I'd never seen it before, but also by the fact that you can't tell from the label what style it is. You can scan the label with a smart phone or you can check the Ranger Creek website.

This "oak-aged rye oatmeal pale ale" is an ambitious brew, if nothing else. The bottle is coated in wax, and the cap was a pain to get to, but otherwise it's a nice presentation. The beer, poured into a belgian snifter, appears a dark apricot color. A bit cloudy. Not much lace to speak of, except for some soapy looking spots on the side of the glass. The nose is nice, but odd. Faint, but noticeable hoppiness, some light citrus, and some funky scent I can't quite place. Herbal oatmeal? Strange. Not bad, but strange. The taste, unfortunately, does not live up to the big name here. It's underwhelming in its delivery of hops, rye, and oatmeal. A definite earthy, bread flavor rises up, and the aftertaste, while hoppy, doesn't seem congruous with the rest of the beer. Mouthfeel is thin and watery.

I can't quite figure out what happened here or where they went wrong, but this beer, in my mind, should have been so much more. Maybe it's the yeast they use or the fact that they simply attempted too much in one style here. But the fact is that this beer falls short. I'll be interested to see what Ranger Creek does with Small Batch #2, but I won't get my hopes up based on this effort.

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Photo of drpimento
2.61/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Friend Paul brought this for us to try. Poured at a good temperature with a nice medium sized, foamy, off white head that slowly settled and some lace. Color is a hazy apricot amber with sediment and no bubble trails. Aroma is citrus, oak, hop, malt and all mild. Flavor's way different and much more bold than the nose. Heavy oak, yeast, hop, also citrus and malt. Body is soft and carbonation good. Finish is like flavor, long, and altogher too heavily flavored with the oak and yeast. One and done.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
4.42/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled 12 oz. bottle into a weizen pint glass. Hand-labeled bottling date 4.9.12.

Look- Hazy deep amber with three fingers of soapy eggshell head. Decent retention, nice dense speckled lace. Foamy cap persists until the glass has emptied.

Smell- Caramel, tangerine, fresh bread, musky, flowery, nutmeg, old ale, raisin, apple, warm spice.

Taste- Very mellow. Mild feel, strong wood flavor. Lightly bitter, distinct yeast twang plays well with the rye. Funky but not overwhelmingly so. Light hop presence doesn't overpower the sharper flavors. Very interesting. The usual Central Texas extra-hard water character is present but well-suited. Half of the flavor comes out in stages long after the swallow.

Mouthfeel- Medium-full body, medium carb. Silky feel. Moderately dry.

Overall- A bit pricey for 12 oz., but hey, it's less than corn lager at a baseball game. Extremely well executed, and does an excellent job of balancing a number of often overdone elements. Worth trying, give it a chance to warm up and enjoy it slowly.

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Photo of lnashsig
4.35/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

#BOTG 54!

Whoa, the wax on this bottle is the smelliest wax I have ever smelled. Lots of chatter on this topic has been flying around twitter, and I've heard things like "if vomit had sex with burning plastic" to describe it, but this shit is so rank I washed my hands twice after opening it. Luckily after getting this bottle open, the smell didn't carry over. This is a crazy concept of a beer- an Oak Aged Rye Oatmeal Pale Ale. Appearance- after getting this into the glass, the color is cloudy orange, some white head leaves just a little lacing on the sides of the glass. Nice looking beer. Smell- a little sour citrus notes, some mustiness, earthy funk. Maybe some yogurt notes. Taste- super creamy mouthfeel, some wine barrel notes, a touch of funk, a really nice smooth fruity malt backbone, nice grassy hoppiness delivers some bitterness on the end. I'm a fan of this beer, and will try to pick up a few more to lay down. I usually find Ranger Creek to be pretty out there and experimental, sometimes putting out things that aren't ready for production, but this one works. Super smooth, good stuff.

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Photo of RuckusDu
3.19/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

375ml "baby belgium bottle." Gift from mhenson42. Thanks!

A - Poured about a finger of mostly white head which quickly disappeared. Body is hazy and a little burnt orange in color. Only slight lacing.

S - Light fruit notes which combine sweet and sour. Orange, pineapple, strawberry, and delicious.

T - Just too many competing flavors that don't go well together. The rye is prevelant with a smooth hops profile. This is offset by a sweet fruit flavor of orange/grapefruit. I am getting some oak but it hides in the rye and hops.

M - Nice carbonation but body is a little lighter than I would like. A little drying.

O - An okay beer. It is definitely refreshing which I normally don't get from a barrel aged beer. There is just too much going on and it doesn't all fit together.

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Small Batch Series No. 1: Oak-Aged Rye OPA from Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
3.57 out of 5 based on 63 ratings.
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