Brilliantly Obvious
A Review of Smokestack Series: Rye-On-Rye by Boulevard Brewing Co.
Posted on 2/13/2014 by Chops
                   
Exquisite
Sometimes you come across a new beer that is so obvious in concept that it makes you slap yourself in the forehead and boast ''Why didn't I think of that?!'' Such was the case when I came across the Rye-On-Rye, a delectable barrel-aged beer from the Boulevard Brewing Company. This nectar is a member of their highly acclaimed Smokestack Series. It's a rich rye ale aged in Templeton Rye whiskey casks, hence the name. Again, brilliantly obvious. Boulevard tweaked this brew even further by presenting it as a blend of base rye ale (33%) and barrel-aged rye ale (67%). The resulting concoction ended up being one of my favorite beers of the year.

In the glass, this beer had a deep charred orange coloration, looked quite thick, and had a warm ruby hue. It came with a creamy beige head that had nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a strong boozy note and a blast of candied malt. Not exactly surprising considering the hefty 12% ABV. Swirling underneath were notes of oak, tobacco and earthy spices. To be honest, this beer came across a lot like a spiced barleywine. It was a warm and intriguing introduction that I found to be oddly inviting despite the massive presence and strength.

And then came that first sip. Sweet, sweet mercy. It's not every day that a beer leaves me speechless. As a beer geek, I love to try new and exciting brew nectar, and it's very a special experience when said nectar is of superb quality. Rye-On-Rye knocked my socks off with blasts of toasty spicy rye, sweet brown whiskey, and an array of candied malty goodness. The flavor profile was all over the place and it somehow retained a beautiful balance. I found notes of oak, toasted grains, dark fruits, black cherries, caramel, red apples, plus hints of smoke and vanilla. There was very little hop presence and the alcohol warming was only moderate, making this a beastly brew that you can enjoy at your own pace. The beer had a big meaty body, yet felt like a silky smooth dream on the palate. The finish was an interesting combination of sticky and dry with a slight alcohol warming. The resulting aftertaste was an earthy spicy malty mishmash with a boozy nip.

Overall, Boulevard's Rye-On-Rye is an incredible brew. It's unlike any beer I have experienced to date and has become my golden standard for barrel-aged blends. I cannot believe I'm going to say this, but this brew is a 12% ABV barrel-aged behemoth that I can recommend to any and all beer fans. Yes, it's so smooth and accessible that even novices can get in on the action. But be warned, that strength is a dangerous sleeping giant, so show this brew the respect it deserves and I promise you will be handsomely rewarded.

Rye-On-Rye is a special limited release brew from Boulevard's marvelous Smokestack Series. In other words, snatch a bottle up if you are lucky enough to find one. This beer fan is on the hunt for more and if you hear a bone-chilling shriek in the distance, that's just me finding another bottle.

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Smokestack Series: Rye-On-Rye by Boulevard Brewing Co.
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