Off Color has been cranking out delicious and off kilter beers for what seems like quite a while now. Everything from their delicious flagship farmhouse Apex Predator, to their famed Dino Smores Imperial Stout. Their reaches are far and their competencies are many. If you’ll recall, we quite liked the base beer in question here, giving it a 41/50 and remarking its creamy marshmallow and chocolate notes balanced against a graham crackery base, all while remaining true to its calling card of an Imperial Smore Stout.
Barrel Aged Dino Smores kicks it up a notch or four by taking the base beer and aging it in Willett Rye Whiskey barrels for 18 months. Willett makes some of the finest Rye’s around, and some of my favorites, bringing notes of spicy rye balanced with clean white oak and a lightly sweet charred caramel note. All of these flavors I hope are translated to the Dino Smores.
Beer — Barrel Aged Dino Smores
Brewery — Off Color / Chicago, IL
ABV / IBU — 10.5%+ / 40+
Price / Availability — $10.99 / 12 oz / EXTREMELY LIMITED just read the FB comments
12oz Bottle poured into slim Off Color Tulip Glass
Appearance (3/3) — Pours with a heavy deep dark brownish-black hue into the glass. There is a dark cocoa powder colored head with light bubbles that sits on top. Bubbles are big and the lacing left along the sides is quite oily and thick, heavy, like legs on a port wine almost.
Aroma (10/12) — Complex layers, this is like assessing a 7 layer chocolate cake, if you could just smell this through the screen we would all be better off. Starts somewhat dry with bitter dark chocolate and roasted malt notes. A little bit of a chewy fudge brownie character as well. The sweetness found in the base beer of marshmallow and graham crackers is subdued and taken over by delicious spicy Rye notes and some charred oak barrel character.
Taste (18/20) — Still very much a Smore stout, you get notes of chocolate and marshmallow, but there is a much more resounding dryness and warmth from the barrel. This tastes like you are sitting by a campfire, pulling your marshmallow out of the fire, mashing it onto the chocolate and graham cracker, taking a bite, and washing it down with a healthy sip of slightly warm Rye Whiskey. The sip lingers and lasts and warms you on the way down. Life is good.
Mouthfeel (4/5) — This comes with the territory but it does finish slightly sweet and is quite heavy. Not detrimental, just par for the course.
Overall (9/10) — Incredibly well done and quite a step up from the base beer. Some may balk at the price, but when you consider that DogFish Head World Wide Stout and 120 Minute IPA are the same price, and that per oz this costs a bit more than Firestone Walker Parabola I find it to be OK. This is quite a limited release so I am glad that I got to try it. It lives up to whatever hype it may have had, I love that Off Color seems to fly under the radar out here. You’ll be hard pressed to find any other stout with this unique composition of flavors. Job well done here.
OVERALL — 44 / 50 — EXCELLENT