BOOZER DAYS: RJ Rockers Black Perle

Because we love beer almost as much as we love burgers, we figured it was about time to spit some words on the brew. Each week (or as close as we can get), we lock two beer aficionados, simply known as Doc and El Borracho, in a room with a notepad, pencil and some brews. Whatever we can manage to decipher from their resulting alcoholic scribbles we bring to you in the form of Boozer Days.
Doc: Despite his nickname, Doc is, in fact, not a doctor of any kind. Rather, Doc acquired his handle from El Borracho for his ability to read above a fifth-grade level -- a skill that warrants an advanced degree in the eyes of El Borracho. Intellectually (and, occasionally, physically) aroused by the bounty of our beer-filled world, Doc is always eager to sample pints from around the globe and learn the stories behind them. Happily married, Doc has often joked that he'd leave his wife for a proper pint. His wife has yet to find this amusing. El Borracho: A patron of 90 percent of the nation's bars during his 45 years, El Borracho's knowledge of beer is surpassed by only a select few. How he has accrued that knowledge has not always been a savory process. As a result, several outstanding warrants have prompted El Borracho to sport his trademark Luchador mask whenever he appears in public -- earning him the rapt attention of both Mexican wrestling fans and fetishists. Single -- and most likely permanently so -- El Borracho is the (sometimes) proud father of seven children in eight states. (It's complicated.) El Borracho's connection to Doc is something of a mystery, but many suspect the involvement of compromising photos.

This Week's Beer:

Black Perle by RJ Rockers Brewery

Type: Black IPA | Alcohol: 9.5% | Debuted in 2009 as the first of the brewery's "Ales from the Dark Side" series, Black Perle features a ton (and then some) of malt and boasts of being "octo-hopped" with German Perle hop.


Doc: Today we're sampling Black Perle, a rather pricey big bottle Black IPA from RJ Rockers Brewery in Spartansburg, South Carolina. Overall, I enjoyed Black Perle, but the voyage was an interesting one to say the least. El Borracho, you had an interesting take on this. El Borracho: Point blank? This is a cross-dresser beer. It call's itself a Black IPA, but one sip and it tastes of stout. I mean, what the fuck? Doc: It is a rather rude awakening when it hits your lips, which is a shame because once you get past the initial shock it's really not bad at all and personally, I liked it before the end. El Borracho: If I had a dime for every time a woman's told me that... Doc: Let's get to the details.


Doc: The first thing you notice about Black Perle is the crazy blue wax that seals the bottle in a visually impressive, but completely unnecessary, encasement. Henceforth, said encasement shall be referred to as "that fucking blue wax," a name it earned roughly 30 seconds into the 5 minute process it took us to open the damn beer.

We're in this for the booze. Don't give us any fairy tale shit.

El Borracho: The fucking blue wax wasn't my only gripe with the bottle though. Read the label and you'll encounter a story of how this brew was named after a legendary treasure that sunk to the bottom of the sea or some shit. I forget the exact tale, but I'm sure you can find something similar by reading the signs while you're on line for Pirates of the Caribbean. Note to RJ Rockers, you're selling beer to an adult, not a juice box to some brat who wasn't tall enough to ride Space Mountain. Doc: I sense some unresolved feelings there. El Borracho: I don't want to talk about it ...

The Taste

Doc: I've had a lot of Black IPAs in my day and the cool thing about them is that they look as dark as a porter or a stout, but smell and taste like an IPA. But while I anticipated that hoppy goodness, I instead got a muted, smooth taste of a stout. It was surprising, and not in a good way. El Borracho: It's kind of like when the house lights come up at last call and you think the fiery red-head you're about to take home is in fact a middle-aged dye-job blonde you recognize from your mother's book club. Doc: Riiiight ... but the odd part is that the beer is not that bad at all. In fact, it is pretty impressive ... or at least it would be if it had been labeled correctly. It actually reminded me of Great Divide's Yeti Stout, one of my favorite beers. But if you're going to call it a Black IPA, you want to get that light crispness. Instead you get a smooth-drinking, creamy mug of heavy black beer. Still, once you get past the initial surprise, it's an enjoyable experience. El Borracho: My earlier analogy holds. Doc: The brewery's website says that this beer is "octo-hopped." What that means, I have no clue, since the only references found with a Google search seem to belong to RJ Rockers' site and others referencing the beer. I'm all for wordsmithing, but the word seems to be a misnomer. You'd think something that's "octo-hopped" -- particularly an IPA -- would have a crap load of hops. But not so here. The description also advertises an absurd amount of malt. That I believe. Especially since it seems to completely drown out all of the octo-hoppiness. I feel octo-duped.

Final Verdict

Seriously. Fuck that blue wax.

El Borracho: I have a saying from my time in Reno, "It looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, then you taste it and it fucks you like a .50 cent hooker." Doc: That's a saying? Well, at least it's an interesting metaphor. El Borracho: Metaphor? Doc: You're talking about the beer still right? El Borracho: Clearly you've never been to Reno. Doc: All in all, I'd probably have another. And I'll be better prepared next time ... for both the true taste and the absurd blue wax removal process. El Borracho: Look, if I'm going to dish out $8+ for a beer, I want to actually get what I'm paying for. When it's go time at the bar I don't want to stare you down for a half hour to see if you're sporting an Adam's apple. This is a lesson I've learned the hard way, and I don't care to repeat my mistakes. Pass.

Suitable for

• A one-and-done big beer night • Pairing with a stew, bangers and mash or other pub fare • Sharing as a dessert beer • Label ridicule • Unsightly hair removal (wax only)

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