I’ve never been a big fan of these guys. I thought I’d pick up their “Oaked” version of Butt Head, a double bock. Some will quote to me that this brewery has won this or that medal at GABF…I guess there’s no accounting for taste. To be fair, I’ve only had three of their beers, so I need to try some other selections. However, this was, I thought, another lackluster beer in their lineup. Here is why I say this:
The Pour: I’m used to lagers, including bocks (with maybe the exception of a wheat double bock) being brilliantly clear and clean. The orange-brown body of this beer didn’t have the clarity one would expect. Of course, this is one peccadillo that many of us are willing to overlook, so I’m not suggesting it’s the death knell for a beer. I also want to note that I prefer and am used to a double bock having a rich creamy head. The head on this beer dissipated rather quickly. Looks aren’t everything, so let’s let the taste do the talking.
The Nose: Sweet malts are always a big part of a good malt driven beer like a double bock. This one did have some nice malty tones and sweetness that were obvious when I stuck my nose deep into the glass. Wine-like notes were also detectable. You might be thinking, “Okay, what about the oak?” It was definitely there. Touches of vanilla, a bit more caramel, and some smoky oak were also part of the beer. Alcohol was detectable so that the beer played out with some bourbon undertones. I suppose this was inevitable since the beer was 8.1% ABV.
The Taste: The vanilla was definitely more apparent in the taste than in the smell. Of course, sweet malts played a major part in the palate of the this Tommyknocker offering. As it should have, Oaked Butt Head had a pretty good mouth-feel; nice and full like a double bock ought to be. The caramel also made itself known.
Be that as it may, the beer had a couple of defects, in my opinion. I don’t know what grains they used in this beer, but I thought it had too many harsher coffee tones (maybe roasted barley, black patent, or too much chocolate malt?). The oak may also have overpowered the bockiness a bit. It was a little to dry and oaky than I would have preferred. The dryness may have been partly due to the alcohol warmth, which was also a little more up front than I like. A small touch of grain at the end, however, held some of these aspects in check.
Overall, you might notice I said “prefer” and “would have liked” quite a few times in this post. I’m stressing that some of this stuff is preferential, which means that you may love this beer. However, I do think that some aspects are more objective in nature, which is why I like to use terms such as “appropriate for the style.” Oaked Butt Head is by no means a horrible beer. But I don’t know that I’ll revisit it any time soon. There are much better double bocks out there. Cheers to you!
Among other Double Bocks: