Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rogue Ales John John Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Hello beer lovers and welcome to another edition of the NorCal Beer Blog's brew review.

Tonight's featured beer is Rogue Ales' John John Hazelnut Brown Nectar.  "This unique ale consists of Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar aged in Rogue’s Hazelnut Spiced Rum barrels." And as usual, there's a story...

Back sometime around 1987 I was introduced to John Couchot by a mutual friend.  John and I spent the Summer of 1987 (?) hanging out.  I remember good times with John.  John and I made our own batch of homemade yohimbe in a giant jug and it tasted awful.  John pierced my ear.  I think we spent the better part of the Summer running around together. Whenever I think of John I have fond memories.  He's just a super cool guy.  We both went off to college and lost track.

Via social media I have been connecting with a lot of old buddies and it has been fantastic.  I had wondered where John was and so one day I asked the mutual friend that introduced us if he knew where John was.  Well, he did...and I "reunited" with John only to find out he is the master distiller at Rogue Spirits in Newport, OR.  "John received a bachelors degree in chemistry in 1996 from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, which he utilized as a professional chemist for 6 years, working to isolate the active ingredients from Amazonian plants that were found to have curative properties. In 2006, John came to work for Rogue and now creates award winning Rogue Spirits."
After checking out the Rogue website I learned that John was collaborating with Rogue Master Brewer John Maier to age beers in Rogue spirit barrels.  Here's what the website says: "In their third collaborative effort of 2010, Rogue Master Brewer John Maier and Rogue Master Distiller, John Couchot, are releasing John John Hazelnut Brown Nectar. This unique ale consists of Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar aged in Rogue’s Hazelnut Spiced Rum barrels.

To craft this exceptional brew, John Couchot first distills Rogue Hazelnut Spiced Rum and ages it in white oak barrels, allowing the barrels to soak up the subtle flavors of Oregon hazelnuts, vanilla and spices from the rum. When the rum is finished aging, the barrels are emptied and John Maier immediately fills them with Hazelnut Brown Nectar. After approximately 6 months of ocean aging, this unique ale is ready."

Let's get started!
Appearance : Pours a beautiful mahogany brown color with nice trails of lacing (minimal, but there).

Aroma : Wow...sweet rum, hazelnut and caramel malt. Scent reminds me of Tripel or Quad.
Taste :  Sweet, creamy malts are up front. The nutty hazelnut and rum flavors are there and very present in the finish as are chocolate and vanilla flavors.  Not boozy at all. The body is light and aides in the drinkability.
Overall :  This beer is very drinkable.  Great flavors (I am a huge rum and hazelnut fan). I will certainly seek this one out again (hopefully I'll find one before they're gone). I was excited to find the beer with a photo of my friend on the label and I plan to keep my eyes peeled for more Rogue Ales John John offerings.

I highly recommend this barrel aged beer and at 5% ABV you can jump in and have a few 22s.

Kudos to my friend John, the master brewer John and to Rogue Ales!  I am hoping to someday soon visit Oregon - see some of my old buddies and enjoy some great brews (and spirits) from the source.


Mark Harvey


  1. Thanks for the review...what a cool story!
    I'll seek this one out! Hazelnut fan myself.

    I didn't know you had a pierced ear...

  2. Jason - yes, good stuff. And yeah, I had a pierced ear back in the day...no more...