Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Oskar Blues Old Chub Review

Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery | Beer: Old Chub
Strong Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy | ABV: 8.0%
Serving Method: 12 oz. can poured into pint glass

Oskar Blues Old ChubAfter reviewing Doggie Style a couple of posts ago, I figured it would be appropriate to review another beer with a sexually suggestive name. After searching my fridge, I decided that Oskar Blues' Old Chub certainly fit the bill. Like all Oskar Blues brews, Old Chub is sold in a traditional twelve-ounce aluminum can. I don't see why more craft-brewers don't utilize the humble can. With today's cans, there are no undesired effects on the beer itself and they offer the advantage of blocking all light (light is what skunks beer). On a couple of practical notes, cans can be brought into public areas where bottles are outlawed and fit much better in your fridge. Thus allowing you to keep more beer chilled without pissing off your wife (any further, at least).

Old Chub is a Scottish Ale, a style characterized by long boil times (leading to caramelization), a sparing use hops (they don't grow well in Scotland), and generous amounts of malt. There are four different grades of Scottish Ale, based on alcohol content: Light (under 3.5% ABV), Heavy (3.5 to 4% ABV), Export (4.0 to 5.5% ABV) & Wee Heavy (anything above Export). At a stout eight percent alcohol by volume, this beer safely clocks in as a Wee Heavy. It sounds just like something from a Mike Meyers movie. Appropriate considering that underneath the canned on date on the bottom of the can, the phrase "Head! Pants! Now!" appears. Major bonus points.

Oskar Blues describes this beer as being "brewed with hearty amounts of seven different malts, including crystal and chocolate malts, and a smidge of US and UK hops. Old Chub also gets a dash of beechwood-smoked grains imported from Bamburg, Germany, home of the world's greatest smoked beers." I have to say, I'm quite intrigued.

Appearance: Dark mahogany-brown with brilliant ruby highlights. On top, a finger-high, toffee-colored head that disappears quickly that leaves moderate lacing that looks great while it lasts.

Aroma: Right off the bat, Old Chub is all about malt. Complex, sweet, and smokey with rich booze on the edges. Appetizing, to say the least.

Taste: Peaty, smokey, and nutty malt with lots of alcohol is what this beer is all about. There are also juicy and sweet fruit notes that poke through every so often. Hops are all but silent, while the aftertaste is of dry and boozy caramelized sugar. I have to say, Old Chub reminds me more of a good Single Malt Scotch than anything I've come across in the beer world yet.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, yet slick with a very dry aftertaste. Alcohol makes its presence known in the mouth with a pleasant warmth. Carbonation is moderate, as it should be.

Drinkability: Like Scotch, this definitely something worth savoring. If you're putting down a six-pack of this in an evening, you're a better man than I.

Verdict: Old Chub is a complex beer that really showcases the Scottish style of brewing while demanding your full attention. If you've never tried a Scottish Ale and are looking for somewhere to start, you could do a lot worse than choosing this. Please don't be thrown off by the can, this is world class beer.

Grade: A


Unknown said...

I liked Old Chub. Both for the taste and the whole taking up less room in the fridge thing.

Anonymous said...

Beer also starts to taste like the can after about 90 days. I blame Adolph Coors.