Lucid Brewing has recently released two new big-bottle beers. The first is Craig’s Ale, number one of their homebrewer collaboration beers. The second is a 7.5%, oak-aged, imperial red ale called Duce. It’s pronounced doo-chay, like Il Duce, the name given to Italian National Fascist Party leader Benito Mussolini who ruled the country before and during World War II. I’m not sure about that as a name for a beer, but whatever. I had a chance to taste this woody brew.
Here’s my notes:
Aroma: Caramel malt and woody oak. The wood dominates but malty sweetness offers some balance. A touch of herbal – almost minty – hops in the background.
Appearance: Dark amber/red color and crystal clear. Voluminous, beige head that is creamy-rich and very persistent.
Flavor: Woody oak dominates, presenting some cabernet-like tannins. Caramel malt sweetness offers some support, but not enough to overcome it. The balance does even out some as the beer warms and the caramel comes more to the fore. A faint touch of roastiness adds a bit of interest to the malt. Bitterness is medium-low. There are some low-level herbal hop notes. Dig deep and you will find dark fruits in there as well. Alcohol is there, but not offensive.
Mouthfeel: Super creamy with a medium-full body. Medium to medium-low carbonation. Warming alcohol.
Overall Impression: To my palate, the wood comes on a little strong in this one. This is a shame, because it obscures what seems like a darn tasty base beer. I’m not sure if this is 100% oaked beer, but that would be my guess. A bit of back-blending with some un-oaked beer would have delivered better balance and a better beer.