Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale – Rogue Ales

So if you follow Toronto beer-hype, you already have heard about this one.  Probably from a few news sources, and also a fleet of water-cooler cicerones.  It’s an attention-grab; it’s going to taste synthetic; it’s probably going to be more delicious than unicorn tears strained through a virgin mermaid’s hair; etc etc etc.  And for sure, a brown ale made with maple syrup (not really uncommon) and bacon (probably not the first, but certainly the first on this scale) is going to cause some reaction.  I’m not going to enter into the debate about pushing beer boundaries for the sake of publicity (at least not here, catch me at a bar, and I’ll get all puppy-eyed about James and Martin at BrewDog…). I don’t think anybody at Rogue really thinks they are creating a style here, or trying to “revolutionize” brewing by getting a part of a pig in there.  They decided to pay homage to a cool doughnut maker by making a beer based on one of their more popular dainties.  The question will be, does it work?  And I’m sure all of us arm-chair brewers will have our own opinions….

Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale - Rogue Ales

Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale - Rogue Ales

From an extra Rogue-y 650ml bomber (yeah, that bottle is PINK), with my favourite: a production date on it (let me decide when it’s expired, thanks), Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale pours a medium brown that is reminiscent of, well, maple syrup.  A bit of foamy head drops to a thin film fairly quickly.  Aroma is immediately rich maple syrup, with hints of cooked smokey bacon.  A bit of smoke and woodiness, that could be from the bacon, or also the heap of smoked malts in the grain bill are present, though it is nowhere near as burnt as a German rauchbeir.  Taste is as expected: maple syrup. Cooked bacon.  Smokiness that is very well checked.  Some caramelly sweetness that seems to be separate from the sugary maple syrup.  While I don’t taste any hops directly, I know they must be there, because I assume this beer would be hella sweet without something bitter taking the maple syrup by it’s sticky Ent-like hand and settling it on a couch with a glass of milk to calm down for a few minutes.  Perhaps the hops are adding somewhat to the woody characteristic.  Perhaps not.  Actually as it warms a bit, there is definitely a bit of herbal hop twang to the finish, which adds another layer to the flavour. Really, it becomes very “brown-ale-esque” with a bit more warmth, though there is no avoiding the bacon and maple syrup.  The body is fairly light, with a notable carbonation.  For the style (brown ale) it’s fine, but for the specific beer, I would like a bit more weight on the palate. Especially as this beer is not just an homage to bacon and maple syrup, but also doughnuts.  There is no doubt: it’s tough to make a bacon/maple beer that doesn’t taste heavily of bacon and maple (and really, why would you try). That being said, Rogue has made one that also has some interest to it, and avoids simply being a quirky flavoured beverage that happens to have alcohol in it.  It is definitely going to be a one-off for a lot of people (especially given the price and availability in Toronto), but I think many folks will be surprised.  It’s clearly not just an attention-grab beer; it actually has been well made and shows its good pedigree.

Cheers to Rogue and Voodoo!

About The Brewery

Rogues Ales LogoRogue is a small revolution, which expresses itself through handcrafted Ales, Porters, Stouts, Lagers and Spirits, and this is the way we conduct our business. The spirit of the Rogue brand, even the name, suggests doing things differently, a desire and a willingness to change the status quo. A Rogue Ale, Porter, Stout, Lager or Spirit is crafted to give it unique character, innovative in its makeup and brewing, a process that has not compromised quality. We believe if a Rogue Ale, Porter, Stout, Lager or Spirit cannot be all of these things, it should not be made at all.



  1. Posted May 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Well written, but I’d be tougher on it, like “So much for the Bavarian Purity thing”.

    Give me something dry any day…

  2. chris
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Haha, it’s true, it sort of adds to the traditional sense of beer…. But I’ve had my share of “extreme” beers in my day, and most of them are interesting for a few sips, then I’m kind of over them. Despite not actually liking bacon, I didn’t have a problem getting through this bottle. I still settled into a pint of cask pale ale nicely today after work!

  3. Posted May 31, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, man. That seems like a hell of a long way to go to include bacon in something.

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