2017 Advent Calendar – Day 13 – Duck Rabbit Wee Heavy Scotch Ale

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So, with the half-way mark behind us, I have officially caught up and am back on track with the Craft Beer Advent Calendar. As a special note on yesterday’s beer, Nickel Brook has indeed determined that their beer is infected and have been amazing at connecting with beer drinkers who got tainted beers across the country. This is excellent. A brewery acting when one of it’s beers isn’t where they want it to be. Glorious to see.

For Day 13 we go to a brewery that has a great name. This beer, a Scottish Wee Heavy, comes to us from Duck Rabbit Brewery.

Located in Farmville, North Carolina, is a brewery.  It has an interesting name and makes interesting beers.  The Duck-Rabbit Brewery was founded by Paul Philippon and sold its first beer in 2004.  It was a long journey to arrive at this point for Paul.  Pursuing a career teaching Philosophy, Paul first got he idea to open his brewery in 1987.  After working over the next number of years at three different breweries, he was finally able to open his own.  In 2004, Duck Rabbit Brewery sold its first beer and has continued to grow since.

Paul came up with the logo for the brewery using his experience as a philosophy teacher.  The image is one of those which when viewed from a different perspective looks like more than one thing.  Like the old lady and young lady picture, this logo is based off one which looks like both a rabbit and a duck, depending on how you look at it.  Hence the name, and the logo.

The Duck-Rabbit brewery team includes many folks helping out with the various tasks. The brewery uses a 20-barrel brew house and brews into 20, 40, 60 and 80-barrel tanks.  The focus of the brewery is not on brewing a wide variety of beer styles, but focusing on being the “dark beer experts”.  For them, the dark styles of beer are under represented in the marketplace.  Given the enormous flavour and style possibilities in brewing the darker styles of beer, they hope to be able to make something that will suit the tastes of every beer fan.

A Scottish Wee Heavy is a historical ale that originated in strong ales of the 1600 and 1700s and eventually moved into a “schilling” classification in the 1800s. The “schilling” classification had to do with the alcohol content. Typically, these beers would range from 60 schilling (light) to 90 schillings (wee heavy). These are rich, heavy, and sweet. Bringing big caramel malt and dextrinous (corn sugar) sweetness. Overall, they can bring what might be described as a “dessert” characteristic. In many ways, the Scottish Wee Heavy is like an English Barley Wine in it’s malt and flavour profile. I’m excited to give this one a try, especially since I really enjoyed the Baltic Porter they included in the 2015 calendar.

Appearance –  Pours a clear amber with a puffy beige head.
Smell – Caramel, bready malt, sweet breads, toffee, and dark fruit notes on nose.
Taste – Grainy caramel malt, toffee, and sweet bread come through on the taste. There are also some raisin notes and some dark fruit, plum or fig, that come through as well. There is a sweet husky floral finish.
Mouth feel – Soft carbonation, medium bodied, sweet floral finish.
Overall – Very nice. Malty, boozy, sweet, all of the characteristics I’d expect from a wee heavy. While the booze doesn’t come through in the flavour (it’s surprisingly smooth for 8%) it brings a lot of really nice malt and dark fruit character along with some pleasant sweetness.
Do I like it? 
– I do like it. It’s a sipping beer, that’s for sure, and while I compared it a bit to a barley wine above, it is lighter in character then something along those lines. It brings a nice malt, dark fruit, and sweetness that warms on a winter’s night, while at the same time not being overly heavy.


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