Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I drank Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale and all you get is this lousy review!

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale 
Price: $13.00 (available at  
ABV: 5.3%

Rogue's Voodoo Doughnut collaboration from last year, the Bacon Maple Ale, received mixed reviews, with those reviews, more often than not, being unfavorable. While I declined reviewing it on this blog, I did get a chance to try it (thanks, Sis) and was expecting it to be so bad from all of the reviews that I had read, that I actually ended up being (sort of) pleasantly surprised. While not fantastic, it was perfectly acceptable for what it was. Of course, I'd already had the (in)famous Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbiers several times up to that point, so this had a decidedly weaker smoke flavor than that, with a slight hint of maple thrown in to give it a sweeter mouthfeel.

That said, this, like the Bacon Maple Ale before it (though still available through the brewery), is a straight-up novelty beer and we will be reviewing it as such. At 750 mL, it's a wee bit larger than the standard bomber, which I'm including in vain as a justification for the price (although this was, like last year's Voodoo beer, a birthday present from my sister).

From the Rogue Ales website:

Rogue Ales has again collided with Voodoo Doughnut to create Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Ale! This unique artisan creation contains a baker's dozen ingredients including chocolate, banana and peanut butter to match Voodoo’s "Memphis Mafia" doughnut- a nod to Elvis' entourage.

For those of you just joining us, Rogue Ales, the Newport, Oregon-based brewery best-known for its flagship Dead Guy Ale, offers a wide variety of beers. The collaborations with Portland's Voodoo Doughnut were not Rogue's first foray into flavored beer, with Chipotle Ale, Hazelnut Brown Nectar, Chocolate (and Double Chocolate) Stout, Mocha Porter and Pumpkin Patch Ale already on its résumé. Though, to be fair, these are all flavors that have been done before at some point by other breweries throughout the beer world, so the Voodoo varieties are a good indication of Rogue's willingness to experiment at the next level.

The beer pours deep, dark, opaque brown (almost black, just like my soul), with a thick, foamy, light tan head. The chocolate (though more of a mocha) is slightly detectable in the aroma, along with a sweetness that I can't quite put my finger on, so we'll just go ahead and say it smells like a combination of banana-flavored funnel cakes. The mouthfeel has the presence of a chocolate porter, with the banana element quietly hanging out in the corner, and the peanut butter standing outside in the dark, in the cold, peering in the window, hoping to be seen. But alas, nobody sees or hears it, and it ends up just going home and spending to evening alone, eating a Lean Cuisine pizza and watching Napoleon Dynamite for the seventeenth time on Comedy Central. 

If you had poured this for me and told me it was just a plain chocolate-tinged porter, I would believe you like a sucker. The only time I really detected the banana was when I raised the glass to my mouth, and could barely smell it. Other than that, there's this sickly sweetness that lingers, and you can't quite put your finger on it.

Those who purchase this beer hoping to taste a chocolate, peanut butter and banana doughnut in a glass would probably be better off with the aforementioned ingredients and a blender. What we have here is a chocolate porter-esque dark ale, and if you can tolerate the underlying sweetness (for which I docked a half point), it's not a bad little beer. I don't know if I would have it again unless they slashed the price (or I received it as a gift), but my curiosity has been sufficiently satiated.

As for the peanut butter element, well, it's so understated that if I didn't know it was there ahead of time, I probably would have overlooked it altogether. If you're looking for something that tastes like banana, try Well's Banana Bread Beer, and if you want something that tastes like peanut butter, well... eat a fucking peanut butter sandwich. (On second thought, try this, though may God have mercy on your soul.)

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