Beer Profile: Ommegang’s Shadow Brewer

Profiled by Ken Carman

What, did they have too much roasted barley in stock and decided to get rid of it? Don’t get me wrong: it’s by no means bad, it’s just that the balance is off. And I LOVE roasted barley. Personally I’d rather all stouts have at least a smidge. This is no smidge: it’s the focus, making what a Russian should have: some malt complexity not 2nd, 3rd or 4th fiddle: hardly any fiddling at all.

Slightest bitter, which is fine: provides balance, something this mostly lacks. Yet that bitter is blown away by roasted barley. They brought it right to the edge of astringent: not in itself inappropriate if it hadn’t become the star outshining all the rest. This sense hogs the stage, all the other performers must be so annoyed.

I really enjoyed it, but not the point.

Black as hell: obsidian. Closing in on light brown head. Great thick glass cling. No light shines through. Head lasts and lasts” pure pillow that really doesn’t want to stop caressing the glass.

Mouthfeel finishes with roasted barley. Hefty body. Medium carbonation that foams in mouth with just a hint of creaminess. Finishes just a tad dry.

This could be so much more. Fix the balance, pull back on roasted barley sense. I think I know now why Ommegang’s brews almost always seem to play it too safe, because every time I’ve had one where they obviously haven’t ‘played it safe’ they don’t seem to get it quite right.

4 ant BA and untappd.



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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