I’m very excited to talk to all you fellow beer lovers out there about Cycle Brewing’s RareR DOS and Rare DOS! Cycle Brewing is the brainchild of Doug Dozark, who started brewing at Peg’s Cantina and eventually started Cycle Brewing in downtown St. Petersburg, FL. They have a variety of beers, including IPAs, stouts, Berliner weisses, and even some crazy beers like the Ecto Cooliner, which is quite green just like the childhood favorite Hi-C drink. They have recently incorporated the “crowler,” which is basically a 32 oz can that is filled on the spot like a growler, but it is one-time use. Very cool developments.
Anyway, they have recently hosted the release of their RareR DOS (imperial stout aged in rum barrels). The DOS stands for Doug’s Original Stout. This beer is an immense, dark, and rich imperial stout that pours not unlike heavy motor oil. I feel like I could float a coin upon the surface of this viscous liquid. Pitch black, light does not penetrate even the edges of this beer. The nose is immediately saturating the surrounding area with oak, sweet raisins, black currants, heavily cooked caramel, burnt toast, vanilla, almonds, and cocoa. The flavors are very barrel-forward, with oak, toast, vanilla, almonds, and rich malt taking the lead. There is a lingering caramel finish that seems to refuse to leave the palate. This is a bold and heavy beer that is big in every way possible. The texture, as you may guess, is rich, velvety, and smooth with a warm alcohol finish. There is just enough carbonation to give life and complexity to the beer without having it be a flat, sticky and oily fluid, yet it is low enough that it almost has a cask-like feel.
I’ll go ahead and discuss their Rare DOS as well. I was told at the brewery that this is the same base beer as the RareR DOS but aged in Palm Ridge Reserve Whiskey barrels. Similar to the RareR, this is an incredibly dark, rich, and thick stout. I would say it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to tell these apart based on simple appearance. However, there is a clear distinction in the nose. I gather more oak, vanilla, sweet caramel, and a touch of smoke as well superimposed on the classic dark malt, toast, and espresso aromas of an imperial stout. The barrel presence is not as pronounced as the RareR, but this is still an in-your-face beer that is hardly lacking in flavor and bouquet. Similar to the RareR, the texture is huge and viscous and the carbonation is just there to keep things in check.
To compare and contrast, there are several qualities that are recurrent: the overall bigness of the beer in terms of quantity of flavors and texture, the base beer (Doug’s Original Stout), and certain flavors such as vanilla, oak, toast, caramel, and even some dark fruits. We can easily see that the same base beer was used. In terms of contrasting characteristics, RareR has a distinct rum flavor, including the sweetness, touch of almonds, and the type of woodiness. The Rare has the characteristic pronounced caramel and toffee flavors, charred wood flavors, and more smokiness as well.
I think these beers are a great example of how the same base beer expresses itself differently depending on its treatment. Both came out wonderfully. They have retained similarities enough so that one might ponder during a blind tasting whether both beers came from the same base, yet have expressed sufficient differences to render each a unique imperial stout. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed both beers and I hope more beer lovers will have the chance to try these beauties side by side.
My name is Daren and I am a craft beer lover, not unlike all of you! Beer is a hobby and a passion and I enjoy sampling all kinds of beer as well as homebrewing. One of my first craft beers was Ommegang Three Philosophers in 2008, which introduced me to the extensive aromas, flavors, and textures that the world of craft beer has to offer. I started off exploring the Belgian styles, which led me to Chouffe Houblon. That began my foray into IPAs and DIPAs. One of my first IPAs is still on my favorites list: Alpine Nelson. And of course, I found myself quickly immersed in the world of barleywines, imperial stouts, and their barrel aged brethren. I like to brew traditional base beers but with a twist: dry hopping, ice-distilling, adding bourbon soaked oak, blending, etc. I like ‘em big, bold, and barrel aged (although a well made kölsch can hit the spot too)!
I was born and raised in Rochester, NY, but I recently moved down to the Sarasota, FL area with my wife. We both enjoy pairing food with our beverages and it’s even better with good company. My hobbies include playing guitar, snowboarding, cooking, drawing, and painting.