Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe Is Anything But Average.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Rahr & Sons Brewing‘s Iron Joe.

 

Fast Facts on Rahr & Sons Brewing’s Iron Joe.
Style: Scotch Ale.
ABV: 8 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 35.
Color: Deep copper.
Availability: Kegs, four-pack bottles. Limited.

Overview.
We’re heading into the first days of spring in Dallas, and the remnants of winter are making their last press to keep temperatures low. Before it gets too warm, you might find yourself reaching for something with high-ish alcohol and big flavor. If so, Iron Joe fits that bill nicely. There’s a lot going on with this beer, and I look forward to exploring it with you.

This beer sort of hits you over the head with flavor. So if that’s something you’re looking for, then you’re in luck! If you want to drink a refined, subtle sort of easy-drinker, move along, please.

Another couple important notes about this beer are that it’s brewed with coffee from Fort Worth’s Avoca Coffee (its Noir roast, to be exact) and aged in oak. One more important element is that the base beer for Iron Joe is Rahr’s most excellent Scotch Ale, Iron Thistle.

Background on Scotch Ale.
Wee Heavy ales, also called Scotch ales, are always an excellent choice if you’re looking for something above and beyond your normal pub offering. The ABV range on this beer is rather large, from a respectable 6.5 percent all the way up to a helmet-needed 10 percent. Scotch Ale is one of those styles that evokes a sense of dessert. Flavor additions are not typical of this style, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy an addition like coffee in this case with Iron Joe. While a coffee addition to a Scotch Ale is sort of weird, I can totally get behind it. It’s dessert and coffee, c’mon!

 

Appearance.
Iron Joe pours almost black. But get a light source behind it and you’ll see its true color shine through. Even for its super dark color and huge malt base, it pours hauntingly clear, and I can just make out the tiniest inkling of deep red color on the edge of the glass. A thin white head hangs around, but not as long as I would like. I suspect the head retention is decreased due to this beer’s coffee addition.

Aroma.
Iron Joe rears back and smacks me right in the schnoz with its intense roast aroma. The coffee really shines through on the nose. Other aromas that I sense are chocolate, bourbon, caramel, oak and a tiny hint of raisin.

Flavor.
Coffee is also a major flavor component in this beer. The intense coffee flavor helps hide the elevated alcohol in this beer, although I was sort of hoping for something more boozy to counter the bitterness from the coffee. But then Rahr would have had to change the base beer, which would have of moved this beer in to another territory altogether. There is a woody element to the flavor, but it doesn’t mellow out the coffee sharpness like some other barrel-aged beers. This beer feels sort of young to me; it will probably enter its prime in about a year.

 

Mouthfeel.
Although the head dissipates on this beer sort of quickly, the carbonation remains throughout the pour. Because of the palate intensity of this beer, it’s definitely a sipper. I do notice a little bit of sweetness on my lips, but it’s not cloyingly sweet or syrupy. This beer lives somewhere between a medium body and full body, appropriate for the style. As I near the end of my first pour, I sense a smooth, welcoming alcoholic warmness.

Overall Impression.
Is Iron Joe better than its base beer, Iron Thistle? I don’t know. That’s up to you! I think maybe I like Iron Thistle better, but then again, I don’t have both beers sitting here in front of me so I can taste them against each other.

If you’re looking for a beer that adheres to the style it lives in, Iron Joe may not be your thing. If you are not a coffee drinker, Iron Joe may also not be your jam.

But if you want to drink a full-flavored, roasty big badass beer, order an Iron Joe.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Rahr & Sons Brewing’s Iron Joe a 7.

 

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Friday, April 1-2. Big Texas Beer Fest.
• Saturday, April 2. Beer Sensory Training at Texas Brewing, Inc.
• Saturday, April 2. Burgers, Brews and Blues at Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork.
• Monday, April 4. Spring Beer Dinner at BrainDead Brewing.
• Saturday, April 9. Dallas Brew Bus’ April Tour.
• Saturday, April 9. Saint Arnold Pub Crawl in Downtown Denton.
• Saturday, April 23. Brewfest on Crockett at West 7th in Fort Worth.
• Saturday, April 30. One-Year Anniversary Party at Texas Ale Project.
• Sunday, May, 15. Brew Riot at Bishop Arts.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Nine Bands’ Cactus Cat: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
Tupps’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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