Thursday, September 9, 2010


Slap a scary skull graphic on a bottle of your high-alcohol beer, give your beer a really menacing name, and boom - you’ve just about guaranteed yourself a high level of sales to the slobbering beer dork community, before they’re even let your hallowed beverage touch their lips. People like them – I mean like ME – were trained early on to associate skulls & gargoyles & warlocks (and high alcohol content) with good, ass-whupping beer. STONE BREWING led the way on this front, with Arrogant Bastard, Imperial Russian Stout and other such gravity-defying corkers. Now there’s Truckee, CA’s FIFTY/FIFTY BREWING and their CONCENTRATED EVIL, which I picked up the other day at Plumpjack in San Francisco. Did the label sell me on this one? Why yes, yes it did – that, and FIFTY/FIFTY’s burgeoning reputation as a purveyor of the dark and mysterious brewing arts.

FIFTY/FIFTY CONCENTRATED EVIL is exceptionally limited, and I probably should have hoarded six bottles and used them as “trade bait” forthwith. Then again, maybe I’m the only one who likes this beer – and I loved it. It’s actually not an imperial stout nor overamped porter – it’s a Belgian-style ale brewed with raisins and brown sugar. Raisins! Like, how evil could that be? It’s made up of 11% alcohol – ohhh, I see…..and it reminds me very much of excellent “abbey-style” ales like ABBAYE DES ROCS TRIPLE IMPERIALE or SOUTHAMPTON ABBOT 12. Very small head, which dissipated quickly and made this as still and as silent as copper-colored dishwater. Full of robust Belgian yeasts, and very malty and sugary. The raisins, and some candy-store caramel goodness, are deep in every swallow. A little thinner than some of the actual chewy Belgian ales I’ve had like this, but CONCENTRATED EVIL is really delicious. 8/10.