Oskar Blues Gordon: The Tin Man Cometh…

My Brother Jim just reviewed a beer that had a strange metallic flavor that really was off putting. Otter Creek’s Quercus Vitis Humulus was a very unusual brew, and sounded like it should be great, but there was a flaw in its development that some are very forgiving of, and others cannot get past.  That metallic flavor that is in some brews.  Jim even said to me that had his wife been up he would have given it to her because that flavor and quality doesn’t bother her in the least.  To him it was like putting your tongue on a 9-volt battery.  So while some find the flavor offensive, others just consider it part of the profile of the brew and no harm no foul.  I tend to fall into the 9-volt battery camp like my brother.  I really dislike anything metallic tasting in my beers.  That flavor can make a great beer just ok, and a good beer kinda meh.

Oskar Blues Brewing from Longmont, Colorado has gotten a lot of space here on this blog and others because of their recent release Gubna, as well as Dales which has become a staple in my brother’s beer fridge.  They definitely make good brews, so I was really excited to try their Gordon, an amber ale that many people have said they prefer to the Gubna that I just loved.  So how did it stack up?  Well as my brother said about his metallic tasting beer, it tastes like the Tin Man brewed it for his woodsmen friends…

OK, so I might be exaggerating slightly, but there is definitely a metallic aftertaste that was off putting for me.  The Gordon pours a deep amber color, but surprisingly it is clear when held up to the light.  A very pretty ruby color, with a one finger white head that dissipated but left a lot of lacing as I drank the brew.

The nose was VERY promising, with a big malty character that was well balanced by hops on the back side with a touch of breadiness coming through as well.  It smelled like it was well balanced.  Kinda hard to picture but it all seemed right.

I then took a sip and the big maltiness gave way to an equally big hop presence that made this beer balance on the head of a pin.  But then, at the very end, was that tinny metallic flavor that was ever so slight on the tongue.  I thought… huh, it kinda has a little metallic thing going on.  OK, so I took another drink…sure enough there it was again, maybe a little more pronounced this time.  As I continued to drink, the wonderful rich malts and beautiful balance began to fade into the background and the tinny sucking on a rusty nail type flavor was in the front of my mind and stuck on my palate.

The Gordon is a great beer that was made just OK by the strange metallic nature of the brew.  I want to be clear that I think this came from the chosen hop variety and not the fact that it was stored in an aluminum can.  It didn’t taste like the can, just like metal hops.


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31 Comments on “Oskar Blues Gordon: The Tin Man Cometh…”

  1. rkcrozier
    May 25, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    I loved this beer and never tasting anything other than what I was supposed to taste.

    • Don
      May 25, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

      Again Rob, I think that some people are more sensitive to that flavor, and us Galligan Boys seem to be overly sensitive to it.

    • May 25, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

      I knew you’d chime in, Rob – I recalled this is one of your favorites and thought about you when I read Don’s post. It’s funny how we can react differently to the same thing.

      I wonder if this one’s been sitting for a while.

      • rkcrozier
        May 25, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

        Yes, I LOVED this beer. If we are all the same and tasted the same things, this would be the most boring subject but because we all have different tastes and opinions makes me come back to your blog often.

        Its possible that can may have been dented or hit which may have altered the taste, not sure.

        Not sure why the cost of the beer is so high; I love OB’s beers and would buy it more often if they were less expensive.

  2. May 25, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    I’m a big wuss when it comes to metallic esters in beers. A little taste and I go running for the hills.

    Some might say the taste is coming from the can, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’ve had (lots and) lots of Dale’s Pale Ale from these guys and the can isn’t a factor in the flavor. Not even a little bit.

    In the case of Gordon, I think it’s too little beer for the steep price they charge out here in NJ. I’d rather go for a nice beer from Yards, like their wonderful ESA. Mmmmm….and not too pricey…

    • Don
      May 25, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

      It was pricey. $12 for a four pack. And they make it about 700 miles away, so it isn’t shipping putting the price up that high. I agree it isn’t the can, it is the beer. Some will say I’m being overly particular, but It was there, and once I detect it, it is all I can taste.

  3. Clayton Olley
    May 25, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    I also seem very sensitive to metallic tastes in beer but I don’t get it from Gordon… I do however get a nasty burnt taste from Gubna.

    I’m also getting tired of over pricey beers… I don’t mind paying a little more for good beer, but I think some breweries are really milking the craft beer craze!

    • May 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

      Amen, Clayton! It’s okay to pay more for quality or something weird (like most of the stuff from Dogfish Head), but value is important to me, too.

      After all, if I can save $1 on every beer I drink, that can actually add up in a year. How much I won’t say, but it might be a car payment! 🙂

      • Don
        May 25, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

        I’m thinking it would be a car payment every month… 😛

    • Don
      May 25, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

      Clayton, where it was for me was on the very end of the finish after the hop taste mellowed there was a tinge at first and by the end that was 50% of what I tasted. For $3.00 a can I can do better. It was disappointing however because I can taste the craftiness in the brew, and I know its good, I just couldn’t get past that metallic thing.

  4. May 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    I liked this but I’d have to look back at some notes to see what I thought about metallic flavors. Oscar Blues is simply a great brewery with a great line-up. Lots of things could have created the metallic tones. However, I’m definitely with you, Don; It’s not the can that’s causing it.

    In regard to what Clayton said about craft breweries milking the craft beer craze. I absoultely disagree. There is more than meets the eye than simply a price difference. I hope you don’t mind my posting it…here are some reasons the cost is higher (sometimes a lot) for craft stuff. http://thankheavenforbeer.com/category/the-cost-of-beer/

    • May 25, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

      I’m okay for paying more for something special or amazing, but when I can get a four pack of Gubna for $15.00 or a four pack of DFH Burton Baton for a few bucks less, I’m going with DFH every time.

      Some beers just seemed overpriced when there are strong alternatives that are less expensive.

      • May 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

        Agreed on that account. I’m just wanted to push against a blanket statement about it. I’d take DFH any day also.

      • Clayton Olley
        May 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

        hey now… I said *some* breweries were milking it… 😉

        I get that more ingredients & time should demand a higher price… but some brews seem to be demanding a little too much dough.

      • May 25, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

        Fair enough.

  5. May 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    Nice new pics, by the way. Sorry you’ve not seen more of me lately. AT&T is killing me.

    • May 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

      As long as they’re paying you while you die, it’s okay by us.

    • May 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

      And thanks about the pics – they make us feel pretty.

    • Don
      May 25, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

      Michael this is a stupid question, But I take it you got a new job? In what capacity with AT&T?

  6. May 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    My bad, I should have clarified. I’m still a jobless bum. I meant the internet. It’s pulling teeth to get some service.

    • Don
      May 25, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

      I thought you were doing the whole foods gig?

      • May 27, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

        Let’s just call it an unsuitable environment with high levels of dysfunction.

        • May 27, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

          You just described EVERYONE’S work life, Mike. Well mine at least.

  7. Chad Melis
    May 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    GORDON has a fine hop nose & I’ve not seen the metallic taste. What was the date on the bottom of the can?

    • Don
      May 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

      No Idea, but I just bought it from @Brewforia a few days ago.

      • Marvin
        May 25, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

        The ones over @Brewforia move so fast, I would assume they are fresh. Also I wouldn’t see how age would make it taste metallic. Personally the tang on the end I get also but, I dunno, I wouldn’t call it metallic. Once again there’s different palates at play here, and some are more susceptible to certain flavours than others.

        • Don
          May 26, 2010 at 9:26 am #

          I would agree totally Marvin. I was actually thinking today that most people probably wouldn’t even taste the metallic twang I got at the end of the finish, but my palate is very sensitive to that flavor. Perhaps it is because of all the dental work I have had over the years, and I still have many metal fillings in my mouth. There could be some sort of reaction between the beer and my fillings that create that metallic flavor. Whatever it is, it is there for me, so the Gordon is just kinda ok for me, not really an outstanding brew.

  8. May 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    I haven’t had this, but at times, I find a metallic quality quite appealing and wouldn’t credit it as a flaw. Certain pilsners frequently have a copper flavor, as do a few trappist brews. I’ve read that this can come from many sources form the H20 ph to the yeast.

    But the flavor that is offf putting could have been unintentional oxidization, which would be a sulfurish metallic flavor.

    • May 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

      Boy, do I have a grape infused barleywine for you, Nate…

  9. May 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Oh yeah, sexy new avatar Don.

    • May 26, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

      He brings the sexy, Nate. I’m just here for administrative purposes.

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