Rogue Dead Guy Ale

I first tried the Rogue Dead Guy Ale towards the beginning of my beer journey, off tap at the Sail and Anchor hotel in Fremantle. You could say that it was a bit of an epiphany beer for me as well. This was at a time when I was still finding my feet in this world of good beer. I had the 1001 Beer book already, but I was pretty casual as far as for the beers within its pages went. I recognised the name ‘Dead Guy Ale’ as being one from the book (pretty hard to forget a name like that) so I ordered a glass. I was totally amazed by the flavours that I found in that glass, so much so that I started writing notes on my phone outlining what I was experiencing. And when I was finished, I sent a text message to one of my more tech-savvy friends, asking the question “How hard is it to start a blog?”

As they say, the rest is history.

Jump forward two years, and I’ve now got my hands on a few bottles of the beer that helped kick this whole blog thing off. The 39th beer that I marked off the epic list, Rogue Dead Guy Ale.


What’s on the bottle?

Ok, I’ll get to the bottle in a second; first I need to explain the name. I actually had to do some research for this, which basically involved going to the Rogue website. Long story short, a Dead Guy Ale tap sticker was created to help celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead. People loved it, so Rogue turned it into the name and artwork for their Maierbock Ale. Somehow a link to the band ‘Grateful Dead’ was also made, though I’m at a loss to explain this one. I’m too young to understand I guess.

The main feature of the ‘label’ (it’s printed onto the bottle itself) is a skeleton/mummy sitting in the foetal position on a wooden barrel, clutching a precious mug of what I can only assume is ale. It’s easy to picture an archaeologist uncovering a figure like this at an ancient Mayan gravesite. The back of the bottle has an archway covered in hops, with the inscription ‘Greatfully Dedicated to the Rogue in Each of Us’…Greatfully Dedicated, get it? The artwork is done mostly in white, and I was under the impression that it would glow in the dark! Unfortunately mine didn’t, but apparently some do. Oh well…

What’s in the bottle?

My immediate thought is that this is reminiscent of an English style ale. The aroma is malty caramel, the taste is malty caramel, the look is malty caramel…

Ok, there’s more to it than that. The aroma also has a fruity quality to it akin to Strawberries, coupled with some woody oak as well. There’s also a rather sharp bitterness at the end that helps to balance out the sweetness. The aftertaste also has a bizarre cooling effect, reminiscent of menthol or something…it’s really light, but definitely there. As it warms up it exposes a toasty, almost roasty character, along with a nutty quality that ties in with everything else to create something pretty enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

I’ve got to be honest, this beer didn’t live up to my memories of it…although the original notes I made in Fremantle mention miso soup and bento boxes, so my memory may not be all that accurate. Thankfully I have another bottle ready in my fridge; perhaps now that my ‘memories’ of this beer have been dashed, I’ll be able to appreciate it for what it is instead of what I thought it was.

Fact from the book…

This beer actually started life as a Maibock (German strong lager), but the team at Rogue decided to use their Pac-Man ale yeast in it instead, making it one of those ale/lager hybrids that defies proper classification. Nowadays the Dead Guy Ale makes up approximately 40% of Rogues production! Now that’s some kind of cult following…


2 thoughts on “Rogue Dead Guy Ale

  1. It’s nice to see how something great began especially when it started with a beer. I checked my list and was surprised I never had a Rogue yet. My mission today is to correct that. Cheers.

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