CO-CONSPIRATOR FIRST seems to reference the beer’s origins as Revolution’s Infiltrator. It certainly has the same russet warmth and appealing effervescent sparkle of a fine Doppelbock. But once on the palate Co-Conspirator is more evocative of the Appleton Rum barrels it’s called home for the past seven months. Beginning with a rich and tasty core massively dosed with toasted Melanoidin malts and toffee, the barrel-aging paints on layers of vanilla, black cherry, molasses, rum, and smoke. The mouthfeel is extraordinarily smooth, the body medium-full, and an unexpectedly robust carbonation rises in the finish to keep Co-Conspirator quite food friendly. (Paired with a smoked pork roast, cinnamon apple compote, and roe it was inseparable.) Its 9.5% ABV is substantially stronger than the Infiltrator, and given the warm slickness of the finish it wouldn’t be surprising if some extra ethanol was leeched out from the barrels over time.
With 30 IBUs there are enough hops to counterbalance the wealth of sweetness, though they have hardly any distinct presence in the flavor. Chances are they’re more notable in Infiltrator (piney or earthy, one would guess) and if neatly integrated here could have elevated Co-Conspirator to world-class status. But it’s just as likely that they would have cluttered the mix, and the wealth of flavors from the Appleton barrels ought not to be compromised. This beer was big enough already—indeed, Revolution’s finest effort at the time of tasting. But then came FoBAB and Working Mom….
Served: On tap (Revolution Taphouse, Chicago)