First Impressions: Revolution Deep Wood Deth’s Tars
Revolution’s Deep Wood series began in November 2012 with their Very Mad Cow release. That year, they only released 5 Deep Wood beers (Very Mad Cow, Straight Jacket, Mean Gene, Bean Gene, 3rd Year Beer) and all in 22 ounce bombers.
That Very Mad Cow release happened at about the same time Revolution releases 3 Deep Woods beers – the Friday of FoBAB. This year 75% of their barrel-aged oatmeal stout Deth’s Tar will be released – Deth’s Tar, Cafe Deth, and Deth by Currants. (Vanilla Deth will be released next month.) I was fortunate enough to get to try them before the release, so here’s how they stack up against each other and against another long-running Chicago barrel-aged stout. (Big thanks to Revolution for the cans!)
The original Revolution barrel-aged oatmeal stout, it has been a constant Deep Wood presence since 2013 (when it was a blend of four different barrels). Both the barrels and the base stout Alderaan have changed significantly since that release. Deth’s Tar pours a thick black with light brown highlights and some head that goes away quickly. It visibly darkens and stains the glass.
Holy booze, Josh! This Deth’s Tar is hot coming out of the gate, with some big smokey notes complementing the booze. There’s some oak, chocolate and vanilla back there as well, but it’s mostly booze, booze, booze. And wouldn’t you know it, the taste mirrors the nose, with some additional leather and tobacco coming through. It’s an oatmeal stout, not an imperial stout, so the mouthfeel isn’t as thick and viscous as an imperial, but it is suitably thick.
Deth’s Tar is going to need a little time for the booze to cool off and meld with the base better (unless you like the booze). I personally think it was better than the 2018 Bourbon County that I had a few weeks ago, as I felt that was also boozy but additionally a bit thin.
This is the third installment of Cafe Deth (Deth’s Tar with Dark Matter coffee added). It looks the same as the Deth’s Tar with a more brown hue, more head, and less staining of the glass. The glass (and room) are immediately filled with coffee notes, while deeper inspection reveals the same booziness that was there on Tar, but with the addition of some dark fruits like cherries and prunes.
The medium roast Dark Matter coffee dominates the flavor, with some chocolate and vanilla there for support. The bitter coffee really dominates the beer, but I’d like a little bit more creaminess on the mouth and less booze. Goose Island’s entry this year is a coffee barleywine (which was pretty damn good), so it’s up to the drinker whether toffee and caramel or chocolate and vanilla notes are what you prefer. On its own, Cafe Deth will not disappoint coffee stout fans.
Deth by Currants
Deth by Currants won a drinker’s choice tap royal rumble earlier in the year to become this year’s fruited entry. It looks like the other Deth’s, but with noticeably more head. The booze is still there, but with more chocolate and sweet fruit on the nose. It smells like a black currant cordial.
By far the thinnest mouthfeel of the three, it tastes like it smells. The booze is still there but it’s not as pervasive as the other two, while the black currants add both some tartness and dry sweetness to the base beer. Although thin, it works well for this beer and was my favorite of the three. It absolutely destroys Bramble Rye this year as the currants are better integrated in to the base beer.
Deth’s Cuvee (or Cuvee of Deth)
I of course had to blend all three of them together to see what came out. The bitter coffee from the Cafe and the tartness from the Currants don’t play all that well together, so add more Deth’s Tar if you plan on doing it. But don’t. Because I already did. For science.
Revolution’s Deep Wood series beers are quickly becoming a Chicago barrel-aged staple – if they haven’t already. The releases have been consistently gaining attendees, to the point where some of the more limited Deep Wood beers sell out day of. So hit up Revolution, enjoy some of the one-offs on tap, and pick up some of the best barrel-aged beers in the best format ASAP.
Revolution will be releasing Deth’s Tar, Cafe Deth, and Deth by Currants on November 16 from 4PM – 11PM and November 17 from 12 – 11PM. Deth’s Tar is $25 plus tax per 4-pack with a limit of 3 and will see some distribution. Cafe Deth is $30 plus tax per 4-pack with a limit of 3 and will see some distribution. Deth by Currants is $35 plus tax per 4-pack with a limit of 2 and will be only available at the brewery. There will be the same amount allocated for each day of the release.