Great Divide Rumble Oak Aged Imperial Pale Ale – 7.1% ABV
When it comes to beers, just about anything I have ever had that is oak-aged has been a delight. That wooden environment leaves a distinct flavor in beer (or any other spirit for that matter) that is unmistakable. Hints of vanilla and whiskey often come to mind. For those of you who are familiar with Great Divide Brewing Company, based out of Denver, CO; you may have already heard of their Oak-Aged Yeti. This is a fantastic brew in my mind. I was a little apprehensive about this one though. Everyone knows by now that I’m not much of hop-head, and that I’m very hit-or-miss when it comes to IPAs. But I’ll be honest with you, after my last few experiences with some excellently hoptabulous concoctions, I am starting to come around to the piney/floral aspect of beers. Maybe my hop-friendly brethren were seeing something long before I did. Who knows? So now, here we have this selection Great Divide Rumble. Time for a gander before we dive in.
Looking at the bottle I couldn’t help but notice that the Great Divide logo (on the bottle cap and the label) is quite similar to our own. On it are the words “Great Minds Drink Alike.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Also present are the words “Exemplary” and “Balanced” on the front label. This describes this beer to a “T.” The body is an orange-gold color fairly typical of the style, and the pour imparts a nice one-and-a-half to two-finger head. The color of the head is very much like cream – it’s an opaque off-white hue that looks rich and delicious. The smell is interesting – oak with a touch of malt and hops. As a side note, this beer is aged in American and French Oak. I would like to try two of the same beers aged in each type of oak barrel, just to see the difference, but that is for another time. For an IPA I expected a more hoppy aroma that I’ve come to expect from the style, but this new addition of oak lends itself well to my nostrils. The subtle presence of pine also makes itself known. It makes the beer a bit more enticing. And with that, I take a taste.
Now as I’ve said in previous posts and videos, I often encourage drinkers to let the beer warm a bit before imbibing. To me this is extremely important, as the flavor components really seem to interact better at this stage. The only thing I want to drink ice-cold is that piss water mass-market crap, because it really doesn’t have much flavor. Regarding the warming I mentioned, this was no different. After looking and smelling Great Divide Rumble and giving it a few moments to bask in the glory, I then proceed to taste it. Right up front the combination of oak and hops hit me. It does have a fairly strong malt backbone, but the Pacific Northwest hops play really well with the oak flavor to produce something that isn’t overly biting, but stands out enough to make it noticeable. Some vanilla creaminess and flavor come into the mix as well, and the finish is that delicious oak and hop duo.
The fact that this is 7.1% doesn’t really even come to mind as I enjoy this. The taste is what does it for me. This isn’t overly boozy, even if it is a higher gravity than your average beer. Although as I’ve also said before, when it warms a bit, it does become more apparent that the boozy component is there. It has a medium body and a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. It went down very easily and like I said before, I didn’t have to grimace from an overly hopped sour taste. Many an IPA that I’ve had left me with that unfulfilled, “thirsty for more because I hate this taste in my mouth” feeling. Not this one. Give Great Divide Rumble a shot if you can. For my money, it is a well-balanced, nicely aged brew. I look forward to having this again. Cheers!