At 14%, Boulevard’s Rye-on-Rye-on-Rye is a big beer. However, the ABV is not all that is stepped up. With two agings in whiskey barrels, this rye ale matures into a massively complex and delicious beer.
The bottle opens with a bang, or at least a pop, indicating a high carbonation level. Don’t judge this beer by its appearance. It pours a hazy, dull chocolate-brown with a slight orange tint at the edges and looks a lot like a murky puddle that you’d be hesitant to filter from, even if it was the only water source you could find. The tan head has a slight yellow tint and fades quickly after pouring.
The aroma released from the beer blends the best scents of a big, Belgian Quadruppel and a smooth bourbon. The nose picks up dark rock sugar, fig, date, and plum. The barrel influences are there too, but they are a bit understated in the aroma with just a bit of oakiness and bourbon sweetness.
The body is decidedly lighter than expected for such a big beer. The carbonation predicted by the pressure behind the cork is confirmed with the tingling on the tongue. Though this was not a surprise, the fruity sweetness and tartness of cherry, strawberry, red grapes, raisins, and apples dancing on the tip of the tongue was. The middle of the tongue gets big flavors of molasses, caramel, and butterscotch. As the beer flows to the back the molasses and caramel flavors morph to that of chicory and a dark maple syrup. Alcohol burn is there too but it is not as dominant as the ABV predicts, especially considering this 2017 release beer is relatively young. The hops have a fleeting influence late before the crisp, dry finish from the rye. The aftertaste is butterscotch and definite flavors of oak.
This beer goes through two aging processes in two different Templeton Rye whiskey barrels. In a side-by-side tasting comparison, the aftertaste of the beer is found to be very similar to that of the Templeton. And were you to sniff the empty beer glass without knowing its original contents, the heavy oak and tobacco notes might have you assuming whiskey rather than beer was there.
Rye-on-Rye-on-Rye is a very impressive beer, and I highly recommend you find a bottle of this limited release. Considering the complexity of flavors both from the beer itself and the whiskey barrel aging combined with a smooth drinkability, this beer is the pinnacle of rye beers.
Outdoor Friendliness (glass and 750ml mean this is one for home)…N/A
Aroma (sweet with dark fruit dominance)…8/10
Flavor (big and complex)…9.5/10
Style-Appropriateness (the standard for barrel aged imperial ryes)…10/10
Alex writes a beer review every other Friday, a few weeks ago he sipped on the Tallgrass Brewing Company’s King Buffalo