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Revolution’s Straight Jacket Stars in the Next Deep Wood Release

Revolution’s Straight Jacket Stars in the Next Deep Wood Release
Mike Zoller

Every year, in a sea of highly touted barrel-aged releases, Revolution’s Deep Wood series seemingly has one that will stand out amongst them all. Even though we’re only in the second of four releases, this year’s Straight Jacket might very well be the star this winter.

Tuesday, November 14th, the next three Deep Wood beers go on sale with pickups beginning Friday. Straight Jacket, the brewery’s award-winning Barleywine, new-to-canning Blackberry Finn, and Vanilla Deth which we last saw canned in 2018 make up the second release.

When the beers do go on sale, Straight Jacket will be $25/four-pack (no limit), Blackberry Finn will go for $40/four-pack (limit 2), and Vanilla Deth will be $40/four-pack (limit 3).

To coincide with the release, Revolution will hold another release party on Friday at the Kedzie brewery, where not only all three beers will be on tap, but also some rare offerings will be available – Very Special Vanilla Deth Jacket, Very Special Old Flak Jacket, and Rum barrel Very Special Old Jacket as draft-only variants. 

Straight Jacket

Revolution has the Deep Wood lineup dialed in over the last five years, but it’s their commitment to Barleywine and the emphasis they’ve placed on making the very best version of the style that has stood out. 

We saw V.S.O.J. win gold and runner-up at FoBAB this past weekend, and the brewery tweeted out “Is this a good time to mention that 2021 Straight Jacket has a pretty noticeable amount of V.S.O.J. component barrels in it?”

Very Special Old Jacket was remarkable for its barrel presence as well as deep flavor profiles of toffee, vanilla, and burnt sugar. When you go to try Straight Jacket this year you’ll get a lot of the same. At 15% ABV, it’s one of the booziest versions of the beer ever, but it doesn’t taste too hot at all. 

It’s a beautifully done beer and while I’ve said that before about other versions of Straight Jacket, I believe this might be the best version of the beer — ever. 

The beer is blended between dry and sweet components. The dry component is aged in Eagle Rare barrels while the sweet barrels in a combination of Buffalo Trace and Weller barrels. Revolution’s Barrel Master Marty Scott said that these are the highest quality barrels the brewery has ever used, and it shows. 

You should not miss out on Straight Jacket this year.

Blackberry Finn

Every release party, those one-off variants people go crazy for are there not only to excite those at the event, but they’re a roadmap for what might be packaged later on. Blackberry Finn makes its can debut after being one of those draft-only variants a couple of years ago.

This Barleywine is double-barreled and then back-sweetened with blackberry puree. It’s the driest beer in the lineup this year and while that might surprise you because of the addition of blackberries, 70% of the sugar comes from the barley, not the fruit. 

A really nice dark purple on the pour, Blackberry Finn comes with a slight dark fruit aroma but nothing too jarring. You’ll definitely know the berries are there, but the barrel is also making sure it’s not overshadowed.

The flavor translates to much of the same from the aroma. I loved the notes of blackberry in this beer. It can be easy to go overboard with berries, and blackberries can easily dominate the flavor profile of this beer, but it doesn’t. You won’t realize this beer packs a punch at 13.6% ABV.

Vanilla Deth

When this beer first arrived in cans in 2018, the key was to let it warm up for about 10-15 minutes and the vanilla flavor just exploded. It was boozy, barrel-forward, with big notes of marshmallow and vanilla.

The 2021 version couldn’t be more different. While 2018 really showcased the vanilla that was added into the beer, in 2021 it’s a smokier vanilla presence due to the French Oak barrels used with this beer.

On the aroma, you get a lot of barrel and slight vanilla. It’s very much a barrel-forward beer and we don’t typically see that when breweries release vanilla variants. With this much barrel in a vanilla barrel-aged Stout, I could see this surprising people.

Personally, I’d love a touch more vanilla but at the same time appreciate the barrel in this beer and how it didn’t become just a mouthful of vanilla and marshmallow. It’s a complex beer with a lot going on with the barrel leading the flavor profile, but with that vanilla still being able to pop out just a bit. I’m curious to hear what people think of this beer come Friday.


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