Beer Review 0452: Tyranena Brewers Gone Wild! Dirty Old Man Imperial Rye Porter
New brewery to the site today, and it’s one not distributed here in North Carolina. Tyranena (pronounced tie-rah-nee-nah) is located in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, 25 minutes away from Green Bay, and 50 minutes from Milwaukee. Thanks to Dave (Untappd user OnWisconsin) for sending me this beer in a trade; I know this is one of his favorites, so I’m looking forward to trying it.
Tyranena was founded in 1998 and began production the next year. This is a fairly small outfit, producing only 45,000 barrels per year, and their bottling line can only fill two cases per minute. Tyranena only has four full-time employees.
The beer we are sampling today is part of Tyranena’s “Brewers Gone Wild!” series, which is a year-round offering that sees many different experimental beers released. Some become popular and are brought back for second runs. Dirty Old Man is an Imperial Porter, coming in at 7.9% ABV (alcohol by volume) — this is a blended beer, with 40% being aged in rye whiskey barrels, and the rest being a normally brewed beer.
Unfortunately, this bottle has a twist-off cap. The pour delivers a flat beer (perhaps due to the twist-off?) that does manage to kick up a small head a few seconds after it sits in the glass. The head is soapy and fast diminishing; color of the beer is a very dark brown, nearly black, with lighter brown edges. The body seems murky even though there are no particles or sediment. Lacing didn’t happen.
On the nose, there are heavy malts, especially dark chocolate and coffee, along with some hard whiskey, but that’s tamed my a large wave of dark fruits. The dark fruits are especially grape-forward, and have an unexpected tartness to them. As the beer warms, more of the barrel notes jump forward, especially vanilla, which combines really well with a solid and even scent of dark chocolate. There’s some smoke here, too, and it only seems to get better as it warms.
The flavors start out with some jammy dark fruits; again, especially grape — there’s actually a tart edge on the palate that took me by surprise, but with everything going down on the palate, it’s pleasant. The tartness doesn’t last long and the flavors start to round out into more of a traditional Porter with ample robust dark chocolate and black coffee. The whiskey barrel comes out but is never the star — touches of vanilla extract mingle with the solid and consistent flavor of velvety dark chocolate. The beer finishes mildly bitter with powdered chocolate and a kiss of smoke. Alcohol is never a factor. Medium-bodied, Dirty Old Man has a medium, foamy and slightly drying mouthfeel.
Superb call on the 40% barrel age. Far to often, barrel aging tends to overwhelm beers, but this treatment plays well with the solid base of dark chocolate and coffee. A tasty brew if you can find it, I’d really have loved to try it fresh. Please note that despite what I wrote on my review sheet, there IS a date on this bottle, it was just hard to see due to condensation at the time of the review. This beer was bottled on February 20, 2012, so it has over a year of age on it.
Tyranena Brewers Gone Wild! Dirty Old Man Imperial Rye Porter, 92 points. Price: $2.99 US for one 12 oz. bottle.