Rogues Ales: Imperial Younger’s Special Bitter Falls A Bit Short

I have never heard a complaint about the product Rogue Ales produces. I have heard remarks in regards to their prices, though. The Rogue XS series is a line of bigger beers (higher in ABV%) that are shipped in beautiful swing-top ceramic bottles. Here in the Northeast those bottles can go for $21 – $25.

Granted, the beer within the bottle is more expensive to make. Typically it takes more hops and grain to make high-gravity ales. Still, twenty plus dollars is a bit to pay on one beer.

One typical comment about Rogue’s packaging was that the beer geek would rather the XS series come in a standard 22 oz. bomber bottle. Logic would dictate the price of the beer would be reduced without the ceramic swing top bottle.

Rogue Ales has released the XS series in classic bottles but if you were looking for bombers Rogue fell a little…um, short. Rogues Imperial Younger’s Special Bitter is now available in 7 oz pony bottles. At my local beer shop these are on the shelf for $5.45. Seeing it would take roughly three of these to fill a 22 oz bottle, it seems that we were paying $5 – $10 in packaging costs for the ceramic swing-top bottles.

Style – Imperial English Bitter

Food Pairing: Seafood, Hot & Spicy

Tasting Notes: Smooth & malty with a kick of bitterness, this is a couple noches above the standard YSB!

8 Ingredients: Malts: 2-row pale and Crystal. Hops: Willamette, Kent Golding and Amarillo Yeast & Water: Rogue’s Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

Specs: 17º PLATO, 52 IBU, 76 AA, 35º Lovibond

World Class Package: Draft, 750ml Ceramic, 7oz Nip bottle coming in June 2010

2008 World Beer Championships—Silver
2007 World Beer Championships—Gold

“Younger’s Special Bitter was named in honor of William Younger, the brother of Don Younger, who passed away in 1994”
-John Maier

History: Imperial Younger’s Special Bitter was originally brewed in 2006 to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Horse Brass Pub in Portland, Oregon. The Horse Brass Pub, owned by the legendary Don Younger, was Rogue’s first account in Portland in 1989 and Younger’s Special Bitter was developed by Rogue brewmaster John Maier as the house beer for the Horse Brass.

Aside from the price and serving size I have no complaints about this beer. It pours a cloudy reddish brown with a light tan head. The aroma is bready with a bit of caramel and a touch of dust. The mouth fell is very smooth with a huge hop finish and a generous amount of alcohol. Unfortunately just as I get into the beer it is gone.

It seems that once again Rogue Ales came up big on the beer but fell short on the packaging. If I have known this beer was going to be this good I would have picked up a couple of these ponies.