Deep Wood: New Era – Deth’s Tars | Revolution Brewing
Even though the first Deep Wood release came and went in July, October officially starts Deep Wood season. For three of the next four months, Revolution will release parts of their most anticipated yearly release. This year formally brings a new era in Deep Wood as the can art has dramatically – and impressively – changed. As always, Revolution begins Deep Wood season with one of the OGs – Deth’s Tar and its variants.
Deth’s Tar | 14.8%
I would be shocked if this didn’t make an appearance in the lineup. The standard bearer (along with Straight Jacket), Deth’s Tar set the bar for future Deep Wood releases and typically gives us a reminder every year why it’s one of the best BA stouts Chicago has to offer. Due to its yearly nature, Deth’s Tar also receives the “they’re in the best shape of their career” pre-season hype, with anyone at Revolution telling you it’s the best vintage they’ve ever done. Let’s see if they’re right.
Two fingers of khaki head appears as you pour Deth’s Tar. It disappears like a soda head does until nothing remains. It pours a caramel brown that turns black as it sits in the glass. Brown and red highlights show up when held to the light while a heavy alcohol stains the side of the glass. The bourbon aroma on Deth’s Tar hits first, followed by chocolate, vanilla, and licorice. The bourbon tickles the nostrils and lets you know this is a barrel-aged beer.
Deth’s Tar features bourbon, chocolate and some nuttiness across the palate. It’s extremely smooth and way too easy of a drinker. A very odd thing happens when you drink it – all the flavor sits on the front of the tongue. About halfway through the sip everything disappears; no flavor riding off. Very little of the flavors stay around long at all but it makes Deth’s Tar very easy to finish a 12oz can of relatively quickly.
It’s an interesting Catch-22 with Deth’s Tar. I like how easy it is to drink, but would like more flavor across the entire sip. But that flavor might lead to something more difficult to drink. As is, it does not top my favorite vintage (2022) but it does top most of the canned Deth’s Tar vintages due to its drinkability.
Café Deth | 14.8%
Café Deth also returns as does the Dark Matter coffee used in the beer. For coffee beer fans, Café Deth always ranges from great to excellent (in my opinion) depending on the year, but you know you will get a quality brew if you purchase it. It has never exhibited any of the common coffee beer off flavors (most notably green pepper) since being canned. My personal favorite vintage still remains the “creamy and vanilla-y” 2019 vintage but while subsequent years haven’t quite hit that high, they remain consistent.
So as not to bore you, Café Deth matches Deth’s Tar in appearance. The biggest difference is in the aroma, which you can smell from 6 inches away. The dark roast coffee fills up the room to the point it hides any bourbon or alcohol aroma and burn. Digging past the coffee, some chocolate and raisin notes reveal themselves along with a slight vanilla note. Smells delicious and not 14.8% ABV at all.
Naturally the same issue I had with Deth’s Tar carries over to Café Deth. All the flavors are on the front of the tongue and there’s nothing past halfway. Those front tongue flavors knock it out of the park though – coffee, more chocolate than Deth’s Tar, hints of vanilla and cherries. Again, it cutting off halfway through the sip makes it very easy to drink and not a sipper. I managed to finish both Deth and Café in one sitting and wanted more. At 14.8% each, that’s dangerous!
Unlike the Deth’s Tar, though, the coffee in Café Deth hangs around after the sip a bit in the form of bitterness. That, along with the added coffee notes, makes Café Deth slightly preferable to Deth’s Tar for me. But it’s the same beer, so if you prefer coffee stouts go with Café. This year’s doesn’t quite hit the 2019 vintage for me, but it would be closer if it had a full palate experience. You can’t deny how easy it is to drink and finish, however.
Deth by Currants | 14.1%
Last canned and released in 2018, Deth by Currants returns! The first release only happened due to it winning a “cage match” taste off at the Revolution tap room earlier that year. Typically the fruited variants rank low on my yearly Deep Wood rankings as they usually make the base Deth’s Tar either too thin or too sweet, but there were two exceptions. The absolutely amazing 2020 Deth by Cherries supplemented the chocolate found in the base with some nice tart cherries and the 2018 Currants, which made things a little thin and dry but still remained good.
Same ol’ same ol’ on the appearance, with two exceptions. The head stays around a lot longer and slowly dissipates as opposed to the soda-like fizz of the previous two. And since currants were added, Deth by Currants exhibits a reddish-purple tint and highlights to it. Alcohol stains the glass along with some currants that stick to the side.
Well Revolution added some fruit to it and I’ll assume it’s currants. Jammy currants are at the forefront of the aroma. Not as much as the coffee in Café, but it’s significant. Those jammy currants remind me of the Ocean Spray Craisins I used to eat by the bagful! Sticking your nose way in and digging you might get some chocolate and barrel or bourbon, but the currants absolutely dominate the aroma.
And the taste as well! It’s all tart currants and very little of the chocolate, vanilla and bourbon barrel of the base Deth’s Tar. On the plus side the currants don’t really thin the beer out too much, which is good, but it still dominates the palate and leaves little room for anything else. That’s what made 2020 Deth by Cherries so special – the fruit integrated well with the base and you tasted everything. The mouthfeel mirrors the first two with all the flavor being on the front of the tongue and everything dropping out from that point. Whereas Café Deth left behind some coffee bitterness, Deth by Currants leaves behind tartness.
While not a world-beater, the 2022 Deth by Currants does better than most of the fruited Deth beers by not thinning the beer out. It features the same flaw of most of them, however, in that the fruit completely overtakes the beer. It remains easy to drink and dangerous if you’re feeling fruity one night.
Revolution will release Deth’s Tar, Café Deth, and Deth by Currants on Friday, October 14, 2022. Pre-orders can be found here. All four packs are limit 2, with Deth’s Tar costing $25, Café Deth running $30, and Deth by Currants $40. They’re selling merch as well, including Dark Matter coffee, shirts, glass ware, and really awesome prints of the Deth’s Tar and Café Deth artwork.