Style: Blended Imperial Red Ale; 50% Imperial Amber Ale, 50% Oatmeal Red Ale
Bottled on: 8/2012
Brewing Notes: “50% Eagle Claw Fist Imperial Amber Ale, 50% Loopy Oatmeal Red Ale”
The bottle is interesting for sure. I find the picture, which is reportedly Geoff Dale, “The Minister of Mayhem from Three Heads Beer,” to be a little creepy. The fonts are all great, but don’t quite mesh, especially the ‘60’s font for the beer’s name. Confusing text is nicely side-saddled on the sides of the label, but still appear slightly cluttered. The color scheme is great, and I love the patriotic flair, but overall I am underwhelmed with the bottle. I love the clown shoes symbol and I love the Clown Shoes cap, which depicts clown shoes, but the rest of the bottle is just meh. This bottle is not worthy of your shelf, but I guess you could consider it for scrapbooking for sentimental value.
The beer pours a nice candied amber with brown notes. It sits in the glass a very dark amber color bordering on garnet. The head sits nicely at a fingers width with a yellowing cream colored head with tight small bubbles and sheet-like fangs of lacing on the walls. The beer smells of candied malts and booze. Sweet caramel and cloying alcohol are very strong with bready notes and a faint hint of citrus and pine hops. Overall this beer smells very much like a barley wine to me, but far less like an imperial red. On the tongue, the beer tastes very malty and sweet with a very bitter backing that coats the mouth in a resinous grime and lots of spicy alcohol. The beer begins with sharp alcohol that works towards cloying as a relatively tasteless bitter works itself over the tongue, hinting oh-so-slightly at citrus and pine while alcohol burns in the mouth. On the after taste there are hints of malty, almost cloying caramel and sweet bread which suggests the oatmeal of Three Head’s Loopy Oatmeal Red Ale. The mouthfeel is thick and slightly prickly in the initial sip, with both carbonation and astringent alcohol. The mouth is left with thick gobs of bitter spittle and a tight astringency over the tongue, which is left surprisingly dry while the rest of the mouth holds the gobs of sweet and bitter spittle. Overall I am indifferent to this beer, much as I am to third party candidates; it just doesn’t stand a chance in holding any place in my mind simply by what it is… I find it to be far more of a barleywine red like Flying Mouflan than other examples I have had of Imperial Reds. It is too sweet with nowhere near enough hop tastes to balance out the cloying feel. I would definitely not buy this beer again, seeing as how Clown Shoes has so many better offerings, and because this was a one-off beer. Perhaps a little cellaring would be good for it and help to kill the alcohol bite and bring forward the malts, but overall it is just underwhelmingly sweet with no complexity. As far as imperial reds go, I just want to taste and smell the wonderful hops that other examples of the style have but this beer lacks. This beer is a meh to me, there is some nice complexities, but it just doesn’t do it for me.