Rickard’s Oakhouse Winter Lager; 5.5% ABV; 341 ml bottle. Reviewed Saturday, December 1st 2012 by Jared Carlberg.
Rickard’s Oakhouse Winter Lager is a clean, pleasantly oak-infused lager that will impress most fans of wood-aged beers and convince lager brewers that their cold-fermented cousins to traditional ales may be worthy of experimentation with wood aging. Perhaps the easiest way to describe this beer is that it is extremely similar to the vanilla/oak offerings of Innis & Gunn.
The beer’s aroma is heavily of oak, with little malt and no hops on the nose. It pours brilliantly clear with the expected amount of carbonation for a light lager. Its colour is deep golden, approaching amber, and the beer has a persistent creamy head and nice legs in the glass.
This lager has perhaps slightly less oak flavour than the aroma would suggest, which is probably a good thing. The oak contributes a few tannins to the beer’s character, and though not unduly harsh, they do result in a slight hint of astringency in the beer’s finish. The mouthfeel is excellent; smooth and creamy with a clean finish brining out subtle vanilla notes that linger on the palate.
There is a pleasant maltiness to the beer, but it is nevertheless well-attenuated and does not give the impression of being sweet. There is no hop flavour but good supporting bitterness, resulting in a very well-balanced beer.
Overall this is quite an enjoyable lager, clearly defined by the presence of oak as the name promises. Best enjoyed cool as one would expect of a lager, this beer should not be your “winter warmer” of choice but is worth exploring if you are a fan of the lighter styles of wood-aged beer. I grade this beer an 8 out of 10.