Rogue Dead Guy Ale

DSCF2742Style: Maibock/Helles Bock

ABV: 6.5%

Rogue have been at the forefront of craft beer in the States for many years and Dead Guy Ale is on of their most famous brews. A must for any beer nerd.The bottle gives us no information other than the name of the beer and the brewery which makes it. Even the style and ABV are not on the label, prompting some quick research for me.

It’s a Helles Bock, a style I’m relatively unfamiliar with. Helles is a light variation to Bock (strong lager). It was originally brewed as an ale, but made the jump to lager with the advent of the new style in 17th Century Munich. Traditionally malty with light hopping, the Helles variation shifts the emphasis to hops, to give a dry, lighter coloured beer. But this is an ale: It is brewed with ale yeast, probably due to lack of lagering capabilities. So we’re left with an ale brewed in the style of a type of lager. Not really representative of a true Helles Bock, but interesting nonetheless. (Thanks to ithinkaboutbeer for pointing out the ale yeast used in this lager-style – an odd transgression of categories.)

The label features a skeleton squatting on top of a barrel emblazoned with the name “Rogue”. The skeleton appears to be wearing a Bishop’s mitre on it’s head, and is clutching a mug of beer in one hand over his folded arms.


Visual: Slightly cloudy dark amber, with a big, bubbly white head. Carbonation is visible, but I wouldn’t describe it as looking too fizzy.

Nose: A slightly smoky, lemony sweetness with lots of hops on the nose. A maltiness is present but it is covered by a warm, boozy smell, with slight hints of grass with a lot more rich fruit.

Taste: A herbaceous, floral hop flavour, with a very mild malt sweetness.  There is a green tannin flavour which goes along with a rich, custard like flavour. Finish is a drying, spicy malt flavour with a little clove and heather and a tiny hint of vanilla giving it a whiskey quality, with hops just providing a kick to it at the end. That kick is more than matched by a very boozy tingle.

Mouthfeel: Very light, a little astringent and not nearly as fizzy as it looked. Warmth from the alcohol combines nicely with the drying effect of the hops.


This is a really good beer, especially considering that it’s a Helles Bock. To think that this is in the style of a lager, albeit technically an ale, higher strength than a usual lager strength and with a deliberately richer hop character, not, is amazing. It has such a rich, well constructed flavour profile which I got used to with BrewDog’s really high strength, barrel aged collaborations during BrewDog Week. But from a light 6.5% lager-style ale, it is amazing.

All those flavours and aromas – the citrus, the sweet malt, the clove, vanilla and green, resinous tang – they intertwine perfectly to provide a complex but choreographed flavour which swirls around the mouth as one. The warm boozy aromas fill your head as you get the tall pilsner glass up over your nose. It’s a wonderful beer. The whiskey like quality is astonishing, with deep flavours, warm alcohol but none of the harshness. It is sweet and earthy with a slight spice and big dryness.

One to get your hands on. I’ll be drinking it again.

Next up: Rogue St. Rogue Red Ale


7 responses to “Rogue Dead Guy Ale

    • Thanks for pointing that out! I’ve edited the post accordingly.

      I’ve always liked craft beer because of it’s refusal to be held down by tradition and labels, but surely using an ale yeast in a Maibock means it simply isn’t a Maibock? Sure, it’s a Maibock inspired ale, but calling it a Maibock isn’t very accurate.

  1. Dead Guy is great stuff, but it isn’t my favorite from Rogue.

    Believe it or not, Chipotle Ale is my favorite from Rogue. It’s the perfect chile beer. In the beginning I couldn’t decide what I thought of it, but I was drawn to buy it again. And again. Now I can’t get enough of it.

  2. Pingback: Beer – #129 – ParrotDog – DeadCanary | A life just as ordinary.·

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