Revolution Brewing | Thundertaker
A big thanks to Revolution for the preview beer!
Revolution wants your money. All of it, every month of the year. Their year-rounds are outstanding, but the real hurt to the wallet comes when the Deep Wood beers get released. Taking a page from the NFL playbook, Revolution has expanded their Deep Wood program and releases gradually. It started off as one-to-two bombers being released each month from November to January/February. Not too bad on the ol’ bank account.
Then cans came along, and the releases jumped to two-to-three per month from October to January. That’s fine, I can save up all year for that. Revolution says no. They decide to go and release two Deep Wood beers over the summer for the past two years. The savings account is now in critical shape. Revolution says here’s some more.
Which brings us to Thundertaker. A collaboration with Binny’s Beverage Depot and possibly named after a certain wrestler (I’m thinking man-about-beer Doug Veliky had a hand in the name), Thundertaker’s original release date was April 17 (now expanding to spring Deep Wood releases). But the pandemic happened, so the release date got pushed back to join with the 2020-2021 Deep Wood series. It first appeared in the blend of last year’s Cuvée de Grâce and now we know what it is – an imperial rye stout aged in Binny’s hand-selected Blanton’s and Buffalo Trace barrels.
Thundertaker pours more like a soda than anything else, featuring a caramel brown color with some light brown and red highlights. As per Deep Wood standard, a finger of a light brown head forms and then disappears quickly. It stains the glass, but it’s a clear stain (get out the blacklight). That stain tells you that a big, barrel age beer rests in the glass – 14.5%.
Really the only other way you get a hint of the ABV is the boozy note on the nose, but even that succumbs to the variety of other notes you get. Licorice, caramel, toffee, and soy sauce feature, while some chocolate, vanilla, and oak come from the barrel. Dig a bit deeper and some raisins, leather, rye spices and dark cherries come out to play. Thundertaker smells like it’ll be sweet.
And yes, Thundertaker veers sweet, but in a bourbon sweet rather than a candy sweet way. Caramel, toffee, and licorice dominate the taste, with a little chocolate and vanilla notes peeping through. A dry, maybe even slightly bitter finish cut the sweetness ever so slightly enough for you to be able to easily digest a can. For the most part it’s carbonated like a soda, but there are certain parts – namely the caramel and toffee – that sit in the middle of the tongue and linger a bit. All told, I finished this 12oz can of 14.5% ABV beer way too fast, as if it was some sort of session beer.
Thundertaker kicks off the 2020-2021 “official” Deep Wood season off on an excellent foot. Don’t let the label fool you – it’s more of a barleywine than a stout. It would’ve ranked somewhere in the top 3 in last year’s Deep Wood lineup, and that’s really saying something. Revolution keeps getting better and better at hiding the alcohol – I’m waiting for when they unleash a 20% ABV beer with minimal trace of alcohol burn. Everything else about Thundertaker is well-balanced, flavorful, and ultimately enjoyable. Well worth your time to hit a Binny’s when they get it to snag a 4-pack. But not for your bank account.
Revolution releases Thundertaker for curbside pick-up September 18-20; pre-orders sold out. Binny’s Beverage Depot will also be getting 4-packs of Thundertaker; call for availability.