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Beer – #734 – Liberty – The Rusty Sheriff vs The Blank Stare

The Rusty Sheriff vs The Blank Stare – perhaps the beer with the oddest of names, and I’ve been putting it off for one reason or another but the time arrives when you have to draw down or get out of dodge.

“… this mashup of brown ale and ipa..”

A bottle that is 500ml of beer that is 8% ABV,  which is 240 calories a serve size, and this is 3.15 standard drink units.

Brewed by Liberty Brewing Co in the style: Brown Ale and they did that in Auckland, New Zealand

Rusty and Blank

Rusty and Blank

Adrian: “The Rusty Sheriff vs The Blank Stare is the result of mashing two completely different beer styles, a UK Brown Ale and a West Coast IPA.

Joseph Wood from Liberty (Rusty Sheriff) teamed up with legendary internationally acclaimed brewer James Kemp from Buxton Brewery (Blank Stare) to brew this unique India Brown Ale.

With aromas of toasted malts balanced very well with pine needle and citrus zest – the hallmark characteristics of West Coast IPA’s. The palate mirrors the aromas with the The Rusty Sheriff vs. The Blank Stare2toasted malts providing a great earthy body for the ever popular bitter hop characters to burst from.

This is testament to the quality of beer that can be made when two award winning brewers lock themselves in a brewery.

Complex and very enjoyable.

So, what could possibly go wrong?

Well for starters that smells like an IPA, it is very hop forward.

Pour is darker brown, and has a head that’d fill a 10 gallon hat.

Then it has a huge mouthful of free grass hops, matched with a really big lingering bitter note.

Hard to know if they started with an IPA and went backwards or started as a Brown Ale and got carried away with themselves. The resulting mash-up is somewhat interesting, it has more leaning towards a Red IPA perhaps then a Brown Ale.

The Rusty Sheriff vs. The Blank Stare3That bitterness does somewhat cloud and over-ride, rides roughshod, over what might be a lovely malted up middle and carry, and whilst this does have a body it certainly isn’t full or ‘chewy’ or cloying in the mouth.

A lot of the action happens at the finish and the back of this beer, after that initial bitter nip, there is a full malty beer, then there is a gate-crashing finish and that lingering bitter grass notes, which is almost out of control, and might do well to be dialled back a bit really.

However, this then has that problem of looking like a dark IPA, or lets go with Red IPA, and it really drinks like an IPA with that hop aroma and that level of bitterness.

Hard to fathom really, or follow.

I’ve found that this isn’t an easy to drink beer and about two thirds in I’m suffering from a fatigue of the taste buds, the hop shock might have beaten me. For me there is that hop bitter and the fairly annoying alcohol twang that comes with it that might have tipped the balance slightly against this.

Not that it’s a bad beer, at least it drinks evenly from the go to whoa, there are no other layers of complexities in this that appear or gather, but those that are there get more prominent where you don’t want them. Perhaps.

Not a style that’d I’d be rushing towards.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 7 of its things from the thing. It is a wonderment of a beer, even if the style delivery is somewhat suspect, if you like a really really hoppy bitter beer then this might be your thing, if yo were expecting a bit of balance in a malt sugar middle then you, like me, are going home disappointed.

The double dip review

  • Where did I get it? Liquorland in Forrest Hill, but I’m sure it’s in lots of places.
  • Am I enjoying it? I found that I wasn’t really, and was kidding myself.
  • Would I have another? No, no I think I’d go for one or the other, because the sum of the parts is less than a whole.
  • Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? No, unless someone wanted a beer that would knock about their palate and give them a really bitter hoppy experience, I’d think of better ways to have both these styles the Brown Ale and the IPA , frankly an answer to a question never asked.

What would a Brown Ale and the IPA Mash-up taste like?  This beer is  frankly an answer to a question never asked.

Music for this : ” Old Man Canyon”  ” Delirium”  on Spotify, naturally. A band from Vancouver,


Color ranges from reddish-brown to dark brown. Lower in alcohol than porter, medium to full body flavor. Appropriate foods are apple pie, pork with brown sauce, beef vegetable soup and cheddar.


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