Nov 11, 2015

Burley Oak Secret Sauce

As noted in yesterday’s review of Rubber Soul’s Pogo DIPA, this Crowler of Secret Sauce from Maryland’s Burley Oak also came my way courtesy an awesome coworker. This imperial IPA is quite different than what I encountered with Rubber Soul. Secret Sauce may have been brewed a variety of 4 exotic hops — according to the brewery’s website — but it’s pretty darn subtle in just about every regard.

I’m not sure if the Crowler fill that I received had been from an older keg or if the beer itself just couldn’t handle the eight days it spent in there, but everything just seemed muted. There was plenty of pine and bread throughout, but not the tropical notes as expected from the South Pacific varieties they may have used.


A rocky cap of beige foam drops quickly atop the rusty copper brew.

Burley Oak Secret Sauce photo


Not much of anything really jumps out here. There’s some distant pine notes, a touch of caramel and some bread.


Pine, herbal hop notes, caramel and light toasted bread are there from the start. A touch of orange zest lingers gently in the background. Again, much like the nose, the flavors are fairly subdued. For an imperial IPA the beer feels a bit thin on the palate — more watery than it should. A moderate hop bite fades quickly to a lightly drying finish.


All in all, Secret Sauce isn’t a bad beer. It just doesn’t present anything that many of its peers do so rather easily. There’s a good bit of alcohol warmth, soft hop notes and caramel. I’d prefer some more bitterness, sweetness… something to get the tastebuds excited.

Rating: 3/5

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