Archive for the tag “Barrel-Aged”

Old Scallywag – Coronado Brewing Company (2013 vintage)

scallywag_bttl

11.4% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($16.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into an oversized wine glass [cage of emotion].

This “barley wine aged in oak bourbon barrels” is from Coronado Brewing in San Diego, which of course in German means “a whale’s vagina.”  Old Scallywag pours as silky smooth as the beard of Zeus, a clear and dark maple with a tight tan head.  The aroma is a formidable scent.  It stings the nostrils…in a good way, with waves of bourbon, dried and dark fruits, roasted nuts, barrel wood, brown sugar, and maple candy enticing the nose like a jazz flute solo.  I wanna be friends with it.  It’s delicious on the first swallow, more English than American barley wine, with brown sugar sweetness, wood bitterness, and a bready texture dominating up front, and ending as clean as a nice pair of slacks.  Some apple and tea enter the picture as the beer rests on the tongue, and the overall effect is not unlike a wood-fired apple pie drizzled in scotchy scotch scotch. Beer drinkers assemble!

toasts-4   4 Toasts

OldScallywag2

 

toasts-4   4 Toasts

 

Black Belle Imperial Stout – Blackstone Brewing Company

 

blackbelle_bttl10.2% ABV
Gifted by Nick M. and poured into globe glasses.

This imperial stout “infused with cacao nibs and aged in bourbon barrels” was brewed by Nashville, Tennessee-based Blackstone, and it pours a thick, oily black with a sliver of a brown head.  Black Belle has an exceptionally rich and dessert-like nose of dark chocolate-covered coffee beans, toasted marshmallow, cola, and some booze.  The alcohol is even more upfront on the first swallow, but the magic of Black Belle is that it expertly manages to offer all of the flavors of hard alcohol (i.e., chocolate and coffee take more of a supporting role to vanilla and toast) without any discomforting throat burn.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

BlackBelle

 

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

 

Brotherly Love – The Commons Brewery

BroLove-commons-bttl10% ABV
Purchased at Final Gravity ($11.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into goblet glasses.

This “bourbon barrel aged Belgian dark strong with sour cherries and cocoa nibs” pours a dark and brackish espresso brown with a marshmallow-like, sawdust-colored head.  Hard alcohol and barrel wood aromas assert themselves on the nose, with dark cherries, dark chocolate, and some citrus peel on the periphery.  Wood and alcohol take the lead on the tongue as well, although here those flavors are given depth by the cocoa nibs, as well as a little bit of tartness from the cherries.  Still, the most robust flavors (freshly cut wood and bourbon neat) seem to come straight from the barrel, and the fact that the Portland-based brewery The Commons used a Belgian dark as a base may have given the alcohol-soaked staves more to latch on to. Brotherly Love has a powerful firewater character, but there is also some nuance and craft, and despite being a little overwhelming, the flavors of this beer are still quite good.

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

BrotherlyLove

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Cellar Series: Love Child #3 – Boulevard Brewing Company

Love_Child_No3_bttl

9.5% ABV
Purchased at Final Gravity ($19.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This bourbon-barrel aged sour ale from Kansas City-based Boulevard pours a ruby-tinged rust color with a mid-sized beach sand head, and a fair amount of flotsam in the body. Sour fruit aromas sock you in the nose, including SweeTarts, pineapples, tart berries, and red wine.  A big tartness also asserts itself on the tongue, but the beer finishes pretty clean, with grapefruit, slightly immature strawberries, green apple, and even lime coming to the fore.  Some of the barrel makes its way onto the palette on subsequent swallows, but the most accurate analogue to the beer is a sour apple-flavored Jolly Rancher.  We cellared this beer for 14 months before uncorking, and I did not recall it being this fruit-driven and boldly tart in the spring of 2013, nor this distinct and nuanced.  My suspicions were seemingly confirmed by the bottle itself, which includes icons indicating low fruitiness and medium sour-ness, although many Beer Advocate reviewers from the time of release mention green apples, tart berries, and the like.  Either way, this beer is fantastic, and should hold up in the cellar for at least another year. 

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

 

LoveChild

 

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Wrath: The Sinner Series – Amager Bryghus

AmagerSinnerWrath_bttl6.5% ABV
Purchased at Capitol Beer and Tap Room (16.9 oz. bottle) and poured into mini wine glasses.

This barrel-aged saison from Denmark brewery Amager pours an apple butter color with a thick white head, and a subtly smoky nose of burnt leaves, cigar ash, and wood. There were not any saison-like notes on the nose in my glass, and it was surprisingly bready and nearly quad-like on the first swallow, fading into dark fruit and caramel, with a woody bitterness in the finish.  Smokiness is generally a red flag for a saisons, and it seems fairly certain that this beer was infected, although it’s unclear at which phase the infection occurred.  During brewing?  During barreling?  During bottling?  Somewhere in transport?  In my fridge?  Whatever the case, the beer still remains pretty interesting and drinkable, with notes of brown sugar, apple, scorched wood, and a whiff of hard alcohol, with a finish of bitter kindling that is the only truly unpleasant part.  It should also be noted that although this beer was poured evenly between two small glasses, Darcey’s glass did not have that distinctly smoky nose or the woody finish.  Hers was more flowery on the nose, similar to chamomile tea, with a bit of a lemony flavor coming in at the finish.  I would rate my glass 2 ½ toasts and Darcey’s glass 3 ½ toasts, so I will split the difference at 3 toasts.

toasts-3   3 Toasts

Wrath

 

toasts-3   3 Toasts

Valley of the Hearts Delight – Almanac Beer Company

almanac_valley_bttl7% ABV
Purchased at Corti Brothers (12.68 oz. bottle) and poured into mini-wine glasses.

This “ale brewed with apricots, loquats, and cherries and aged in used wine barrels” pours a pale, citrus juice gold with a tight ivory head and some fruit flotsam in the glass.  Sour fruit aromas beckon you on the nose, with a fantastic fruit bowl of smells that includes grapefruit, kumquat, kiwi, sour grapes, banana, and even watermelon.  Valley of the Hearts Delight offers lovely tart and sour fruit flavors on the first swallow, but it’s refreshing instead of face-puckering.  Except for the steady presence of oak tannins, all of the flavors are fruity – pulpy pink grapefruit, sour cherries, assorted juicy berries, lemon zest, kiwi, and guava.  This ambitious and brilliant beer hits a wide variety of notes on the palette, and all of them are perfectly in key.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Almanac-ValleyHearts

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Vieille Artisanal Saison – Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

vieille-bttl

4.2% ABV
Purchased at Capitol Beer and Tap Room (12.7 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This “artisanal saison aged in oak barrels” pours a clear, pale grapefruit juice yellow with a slight, bright white head.  It lovingly socks you with major farmhouse and tropical fruit aromas in front, and those are backed up in the nose by sour apple, hay, and earthy hops.  Well-rounded citrus dominates the first swallow, ending with a juicy finish of wet grass, mango, and lemon peel.  There is not much sourness here, just some citrus-y tartness, along with green apple, pineapple juice, dry crackers, and hops.  Vieille is one of the best beers I’ve had from Crooked Stave, a delicious and refreshing saison with a delicate touch on the palette.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Vieille-CrookedStave

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Scotch Silly Barrel Aged – Brasserie de Silly

ScotchSillyBarrelAged9% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($15.49/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This barrel-aged Scotch ale from the Belgium-based Brasserie de Silly pours a prune-ish brown with a tight, off-white head.  The boozy nose offers alcohol-doused caramel chews, plums and other dark fruits, as well as raisins and other dried fruits.  Barrel Aged Scotch Silly has a relatively light mouthfeel for the style, with some woody bitterness on the aftertaste, and an alcohol flavor reminiscent of apple brandy.  There is a bit more toffee on later swallows, with slightly more nuanced raisin and dried apricot flavors coming to the fore as it warms in the glass, at which point the alcohol taste begins to resemble dark rum.  It is quite tasty if you’re in the mood for a big beer, with flavors that get progressively better.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

ScotchSilly

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

Barrel Roll No. 4: Hammerhead – Hangar 24 Brewing

Hangar24_hammerhead_bttl

12.4% ABV
Purchased at Capitol Beer and Tap Room ($16.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This fourth edition from Redlands-based Hangar 24 Brewing’s Barrel Roll Series is an English-style barley wine aged in whiskey and bourbon barrels.  It pours a muddy date brown with a tight, French vanilla-colored head.  Big, boozy aromas stretch out of the glass, bourbon-centric but with notes of vanilla, oak, brown sugar, nuts, and caramel.  Hammerhead is absolutely delicious on the first swallow, balancing filigreed sweetness with flavors of oak, bitter walnuts, and alcohol-marinated barrel wood.  The alcohol warmth settles in on the long and decadent finish, with dark fruits patrolling the perimeter, and toasted oak and muted English-style hops providing backup.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Hangar24

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Cerasus – Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

cerasus_logsdon_btl

8.5% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shop ($20.49/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into globe glasses.

This barrel-aged Flanders Red Ale from Hood-River, Oregon-based Logsdon pours a rusty red with a cloudy body and a sizable pink champagne head.  The understated nose contains mostly the fresh Oregon cherries promised on the bottle, offset by breadiness and a grace note of caramelization. Marvelously restrained tart cherries greet you on the first swallow, backed by a refreshing sweetness, with a just little sourness remaining on the tongue.  Cerasus was brewed with two pounds of cherries per gallon, and although the cherry flavor is omnipresent, it is never sickly sweet.  Instead, the emphasis is on the sublime interplay between the rustic fruit flavors and the farmhouse yeast strains, with a neutral seltzer-y note keeping them all in perfect balance.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Logsdon_Cerasus

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

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