Pros: Solid flavor profile, low price, widely available.
Cons: A little on the chalky side.
I have said it before and I will say it again, I am a fan of stouts. Those roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate flavors hit my palate just right and have me begging for more. Even as my palate has matured and my tastes have shifted to different types of beers, there is always a soft spot for a good stout.
This review will be of the Rogue Shakespeare Stout. I had high hopes for this beer as I knew Rogue could make a quality stout. Not too long ago, I drank a bomber of their Chocolate Stout with ease and felt it was one of the better chocolate stouts available. Couple this with the fact that the Shakespeare Stout won a gold medal in the World Beer Championships in 2004 and at the World Beer Cup in 2006.
A little about the brewery
Rogue Ales was founded in the late 1980's in Ashland, Oregon. They are now headquartered in Newport, Oregon and have brewpubs in three states, Oregon, Washington, and California. If you are not able to visit the brewpubs in person, don't worry, Rogue has a wide distribution area and you should be able to find a bottle or two at your local beer store.
This review is of a 22 o.z. bottle of Rogue Shakespeare Stout poured into a pint glass.
The beer pours a very dark black that is completely opaque. The head is dark tan in color and almost a full inch in size. Retention is good and there is considerable spider web-like lacing down the side of the glass.
Roasted malts are definitely the dominate scent and for fans of the style, this should be no surprise. However, what was a surprise is the level of sweetness also present. This goes beyond just a touch of chocolate, which is in here, and reminds me of cinnamon and even a little dark fruit. Lastly, the hops are lingering underneath the other flavors but are present and provide a slight citrus and pine note.
Taste is similar to the smell in that the sweetness is quite noticeable. Dark chocolate with just a hint of sugar mix well with the roasted malt. Some burnt coffee flavors are also mixed in. As it sits on the palate, I do feel this beer is a little on the chalky side much like an Irish Dry Stout. That would be my one strike against this very good beer. The Shakespeare Stout finishes clean and has nice hop bitterness in the finish that helps soften the dryness.
This is a very solid beer. I was wavering on whether to give it 4 or 5 stars and decided on 4 due to the chalky feel. This is one of those situations where I wish Epinions had a 4.5 star rating as the Shakespeare Stout would fit right in. In addition, to the flavor profile described above, the price of Rogue Ales is always an added bonus. At around $4 for a 22 o.z. bomber this stout is quite a deal.