Advent Beer Calendar 2008: Day 23: Roots Epic Ale

Roots Epic Ale labelIt’s become my own tradition-within-a-tradition to break from the "regular" Christmas/holiday beers and pick something "for me" on my birthday (which is today!). This year that something is Roots Organic Brewing‘s Epic Ale. I just had to, after reading Jeff’s opening description:

Epic starts not with the brew kettle, but earlier, when the Roots men smoke 55 pounds of Munich malt in a smoker of their own creation ("a special stainless perforated contraption"). The fuel for the fire is cherry wood that has been soaked in 18-year-old Glenlivet, cognac, rum, as well as cherries. They spend a week smoking the malt, hand turning 3-pound batches every 15 minutes for four hours. They use a massive amount of malt to brew the beer, resulting in a 14%, 80 IBU monster ale.

Maybe it’s just me, but that’s just mouth-watering.

This is one of the new breed of American strong/extreme/call-’em-what-you-want beers, sounding truly worthy of the name. This year Roots is selling 22-ounce bombers—very limited in quantity, but $22 a bottle!—and larger Magnums. Otherwise, you can only get it on tap at Roots in Portland, Oregon.

Of course, I’m sure scarcity adds to the cachet. But I’m picking it anyway.

BeerAdvocate grade: A (5 reviews). RateBeer score: 3.94/5, 98th percentile.