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Beer Man: Good Sticky McDoogle misses Scottish ale mark

3:13 PM, May 2, 2013  |  Comments
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Congratulations to Ale Asylum for making it to the point where it has outgrown Madison and is now able to supply the whole state of Wisconsin with its beers.

Just hearing the name brings back memories of the old Angelic Brewing Co. off of State Street, where us SOBs (Society of Oshkosh Brewers homebrew club) would warm up with Belgian ales in the morning before attending the Great Taste of the Midwest on the shores of Lake Mendota. Former Angelic staffers eventually left to form Ale Asylum and immediately started producing great beers, such as Hopalicious, Ambergeddon and Diablo, which are still made today.

Sticky McDoogle, however, is a mixed bag in that it is a good beer, but it is not a Scottish-style ale (to regular readers, does this sound familiar?). It is apparent from the first sip that it is too hoppy for the style, which is supposed to have little bitterness in the taste or aftertaste, and the hop flavor is totally wrong.

Right off the bat I thought, "Why not just call it an American brown ale and be done with it?"

As a brown ale, it is very good - malty with lots of caramel and bready notes, nice-looking amber body with reddish highlights and a full mouthfeel that is just short of chewy. It has hints of raisin as it warms up and the 7.2 percent ABV certainly has a warming effect without being apparent in the taste. And it has piney hops.

Psst - here's a not-so-secret secret - use East Kent Goldings hops when making a Scottish ale, which several brewmasters have told me are not any more expensive than American hops. That will immediately swing the balance more toward a Scottish ale.

I wish some U.S. beer trade association would require any beer containing piney-grapefruity hops, but labeling itself as a traditional style, to have to use the word "American" at the beginning, so I would know right off the bat that it is actually a "New World" hybrid.

That said, Sticky is a well-made beer for those who like malt. Just expect the pine and grapefruit to kick in. Purists will not enjoy that much and hopheads will probably complain that there is too much malt flavor.

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