Midsummer Deep Wood Classic | Revolution
Check out our other reviews here! A big thanks to Revolution for the preview samples!
Revolution Brewing continues to attempt to take over the calendar with their barrel-aged Deep Wood releases. This year’s summer release happens only once but comprises three beers including one of – if not the – most desired beer in their portfolio. With all due respect to the MLB, I’m calling this release the Midsummer Deep Wood Classic.
Supermassive Café Deth | 14.3%
As if Café Deth wasn’t enough, Revolution again adds ten pounds per oak barrel of Dark Matter coffee to the base Deth’s Tar that’s been aged eighteen months in barrels. After an impressive limited tap-only release at the 2019 Deth’s Tar release, Revolution canned Supermassive Café Deth and released it during the summer of 2020, so they’re back at it again.
Supermassive Café Deth pours pitch black with a finger of khaki head that dies down quickly to nothing. Some brown and red highlights on the rim show up, and there’s substantial alcohol residue on the side of the glass while swirling. (Like an 8 on the GAS scale.) Doesn’t change the color of the glass but it changes things.
Your immediate area will smell like a coffee shop when pouring this. Like a foot away from your nose and you can smell it. Coffee, coffee, coffee. Getting past the absurd amount of coffee reveals a healthy dose of chocolate and fudge. Some vanilla, dark cherries and a little booze join in the party. Even a cashew-like nuttiness shows up. Put it all together and you get one of those Little Debbie brownies with nuts on it with a healthy side of coffee. Wild stuff.
Chocolate, vanilla and dark cherries show up first, with a nice coffee current beneath. The coffee hits its stride at the very end, with a nice medium roast bursting forth. That coffee on the end not only makes things finish a bit bitter but drastically reduces the perceptible alcohol, making Supermassive Café Deth insanely drinkable (get used to that phrase). Smooth and sweet – but not cloying – assist the medium mouthfeel of Supermassive Café Deth, with the chocolate, vanilla and coffee hanging around.
Compared to last year’s Supermassive, this one integrates the coffee and base beer much better while being pretty much the same beer. Less booze on the finish means this one will go quick once it’s open. An improvement – however slight – from last year’s.
Strawberry Jacket | 14.2%
Strawberry Jacket pours a sunset orange color with about a finger of head. As with most Deep Wood, that’s gone quickly. If the light strikes it just right a nice crimson glow can be seen. Beautiful looking beer.
The first thing that came to mind when smelling Strawberry Jacket was Fruity Pebbles. Wouldn’t some Strawberry Jacket be nice for breakfast! Anyways, butterscotch, caramel, and vanilla support the strawberry note with a fine helping of booze and oak rounding things out. The strawberry wasn’t as dominant as it was in previous versions, though.
While fleeting, the Straight Jacket barleywine does show up at the beginning of the sip but then the tart strawberries take over. That tartness definitely helps with the booze at the end making this one – say it with me now! – very drinkable. Don’t do what I did and finish 12 ounces of each of these cans back-to-back. You’ll gladly do it, but the rest of your night will be kaput. Some butterscotch and caramel show up at the beginning during the barleywine phase of the sip.
Oddly enough, the carbonation seems to be on the high side, with only some of the strawberry tartness staying around. Things move quickly and definitely don’t linger the way Straight Jacket and Ryeway to Heaven do. While I still would like more of the barleywine to show up (much like in the Apple Brandy Ryeway), this year’s Strawberry Jacket is leagues better than the first. The first iteration had all strawberry and not much barleywine, while this manages to even it out ever so slightly. Revolution’s getting closer to solving this one!
V.S.O.J. | 15%
I’m sure you just skipped right to this. Revolution knows what they have here. The page on their website announcing all three summer Deep Wood releases just talks about V.S.O.J. with the other two cans tagged on at the bottom. I won’t go into that history again as Revolution has done an excellent job already.
I will say that the first batch of V.S.O.J.ranks as one of the best beers I’ve ever had. Yes, it finished second to Mexican Medianoche from Weldwerks in my year-end list (also an all-timer). We had the first batch on the podcast twice and I loved it both times. I even opened a can of mine last year with a friend before the pandemic hit and it still slayed. My expectations for this are high as are everyone else’s.
V.S.O.J. pours a caramel brown color with a half finger of head. The head slowly vanishes, leaving nothing there. Light does get through and some red highlights show up if the light hits it just right. An absolutely clean, beautiful looking beer.
You don’t even need to get near V.S.O.J. to enjoy the aroma. Huge butterscotch and toffee notes. A little deeper digging yields some raisins, fig, vanilla, and apple notes. It comes off as a green Granny Smith apple, but nothing too overpowering, just not expected. Booze, oak, and some slight chocolate notes join in the fun as well. The booze really doesn’t dominate as much as I thought it would for a 15% ABV beer.
Strap it in, as V.S.O.J. will take a while to finish. Waves of butterscotch and caramel greet you on every sip and the booze hides itself exceedingly well. After a few sips it hits you though, showing itself as a sipper and not a chugger. Much like on the nose, notes of green apple, vanilla, oak, and raisin accompany all the sweet. Even at 15%, V.S.O.J. remains a smooth sipper. But you’ll feel it eventually.
V.S.O.J. makes sure things stay around for a while, with a medium-low carbonation that allows all those butterscotch, caramel and apple flavors to set up shop on the tongue and not leave. Even smacking your lips gives you a similar taste. The apple note came off so prominent to me that I thought some apple brandy barrels were used. Again, strap it down as you drink your way through a can, enjoying every moment of it.
Compared to Straight Jacket, V.S.O.J. is more intense and well-rounded than it’s younger brother. It stays smoother and not as sweet as Straight Jacket as well, with an even more expertly integrated barrel. V.S.O.J. still will most likely be one of the best beers you’ll have, but it ranks slightly below its first iteration (Batch 1 was better!) V.S.O.J. batch 1 unexpectedly had a strong chocolate presence from the barrels that batch 2 replaces with a green apple note. Whereas batch 1 reminded me of King Henry, batch 2 comes off as a top-level barleywine, not some mix of styles. Both are excellent and reach the apex of the style, but I prefer the chocolate to green apple. Whatever you prefer you will not be disappointed.
V.S.O.J. still reigns supreme for me, but Supermassive Café Deth has definitely closed the gap. Strawberry Jacket still lags behind, but things are looking up for that beer. But, if you get all three, you could start the day off with some coffee (Supermassive Café Deth), have a nice little fruit thing for lunch/brunch (Strawberry Jacket), then finish off your day with a delectable sipper (V.S.O.J.). Revolution’s not only taking over the calendar, they’re also taking over your day. Stay out of my day Revolution.
V.S.O.J., Supermassive Café Deth, and Strawberry Jacket will be released on July 16, 2021 with a party at Revolution with some insane draft-only options (praise Deth!). Party starts at noon. All Deep Wood beer must be ordered ahead of time and picked up; there will be no on-site sales. V.S.O.J.is $50 per 4-pack and is sold out. Supermassive Café Deth and Strawberry Jacket are both $40 per 4-pack each with a limit of three 4-packs each per person.