Off the Deep (Wood) End: Variety Pack!
Revolution’s been flying high after their previous two Deep Wood releases. The first release of all stouts featured one of the best beers I’ve had all year, while the second release saw the anticipated debut of another V.S.O. beer that will also end up in my year end ranks. (Then we did all of them in one drunken, taste-filled show.) Now Revolution releases a panoply of beer styles – a ryewine (Ryeway to Heaven), a stout (Very Special Old Deth or V.S.O.D.) and a barleywine (Boss Jacket).
Ryeway to Heaven | 15.8%
First a little Ryeway-in-cans history. Ryeway 2017 was on the sweeter side (and the basis for V.S.O.R.) while Ryeway 2018 was more dry. Which Ryeway will show up for 2019? This year’s Ryeway has components of one- and two-year aged beers.
Ryeway to Heaven pours a mahogany brown with beautiful crimson highlights. Glass staining doesn’t happen and there’s some head, but it’s gone quickly. A ton of rye greets you on the nose, with caramel, butterscotch, and raisins flying in for support. The barrel provides some chocolate and vanilla in lower doses, but this really just improves upon some already impressive nose flavors.
Hello rye spices! They are all over the place when drinking it, starting you off and then hanging around long after the rest of the party has left. There’s always one. Butterscotch and caramel brought the chips and dip and stayed for a while, while chocolate and vanilla really couldn’t be in the same room together for a long time and left as soon as they came. No bread please, as this is a low carb party, with everyone just hanging out and moving slow all night.
So which Ryeway showed up to party in 2019? The one closer to its BMOC days of 2017 thankfully. The rye spices are upfront and dominant throughout, while the caramel and butterscotch notes are prevalent and delicious. It’s sweet, but not 2019-beer-trend-headache-inducing sweet. Ryeway fills a need for a barrel-aged non-stout during this season, and the changeup is both noticed and delicious.
Boss Jacket | 14.8%
First released as a sanctuary beer at the 2018-2019 Straight Jacket/Boss Ryeway release, Boss Jacket returns, this time in cans! Boss Jacket features a blend of Boss Ryeway aged in WhistlePig Boss Hog barrels that held Calvados apple pear brandy and Straight Jacket (aged in Heaven Hill barrels). Eighteen of the 28 barrels used in the blend were Boss Hog, while the remaining ten were Heaven Hill.
Boss Jacket pours a caramel color with red highlights; there’s a certain cola-like hue present as well. Of the three, Boss Jacket is by far the sweetest, with tons of caramel and raisins on the nose. There is some alcohol tickling the nose as well. No hiding this one – you’re drinking a big barrel-aged beer.
Revolution must like to keep the carb low for all their barleywine releases, as the Boss Jacket resembles the Ryeway in this regard. Good on Revolution looking out for those on the keto diet. This results in a syrupy mouthfeel that coats the tongue. That syrupy mouthfeel just adds to the bigness of this beer, as waves of sweet butterscotch and caramel hang around for as long as your hippie friend did in college. Except you’re getting your money’s worth on this one. It’s boozy for sure, but not in a way that prevents further imbibing; you can thank the very dry, oaky finish for that.
While it starts out a bit sweet, the finish really tampers down any overly sweet finish that might occur, making this one an easy drinker. The booze present lets you know you’re drinking a high gravity barrel-aged beer and honestly you probably really don’t care with how easily drinkable this is.
V.S.O.D. | 14.2%
Released two years ago (see below), V.S.O.D. returns in time for the bowl games! V.S.O.D. is a blend of Woodford Double Oak and Buffalo Trace barrels aged for at least 2 years.
V.S.O.D. has the biggest head of all, with about a finger or head that quickly disappears. Just like your college football glory days, V.S.O.D. It pours pitch black and there’s really no staining of the glass. V.S.O.D.must shop at the off campus co-op, as a veritable trail mix appears, featuring cherries and other dark fruits, chocolate, oak, and a little roast. Thankfully no granola. The beer feels a bit thin, but it’s an oatmeal stout and was on varsity for two years, so we’ll let it slide.
Raisins are dominant on the taste and there are some dark fruits floating about as well. That Deep Wood Burn™ shows itself on the finish, while the roast, oak, chocolate and vanilla notes are there for a spell. It’s an interesting beer, but not the fudgy self it was only 2 years ago. I’d like a bit more going on in the stout, with more chocolate from the base and more coming from the barrels other than oakiness. It’s also one of the hottest beers they’ve released this year.
V.S.O.D. (2017) vs. V.S.O.D. (2019)
No contest here. V.S.O.D.2017 had something off about the nose and flavor. Frankly, it smells like a used gym towel. The big fudgy notes of the original are gone, replaced by some fruits and a little chocolate and vanilla. It’s not infected by any means, but it is a shell of what it once was. Just to check I tested out two different cans from two different 4-pack with similar results. Drink now if you dare.
Big thanks to Revolution for the review samples!
Revolution will be releasing Ryeway to Heaven, V.S.O.D., and Boss Ryeway at their Kedzie taproom located at 3340 N Kedzie Ave on Friday, December 13 from 4 PM – 11 PM.
Ryeway to Heaven is $30 per 4-pack with a limit of 4.
V.S.O.R. is $35 per 4-pack with a limit of 4.
Boss Jacket is $40 per 4-pack with a limit of 2.