Archive for the tag “Strong Dark Ale”

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


toasts-4   4 Toasts

4 Calling Birds (The Bruery)

11.0% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($11.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

This is the 4th in The Bruery’s series of Christmas beers (the first was “Partridge in a Pear Tree”, the second “2 French Hens”, and so on), and it’s intended to be cellared for up to eight years. That might account for this dark Belgian brew’s notably immature taste, much like an unripe fruit plucked before its time.  It pours a brackish brown color with a minimal light brown head, and smells of gingerbread and savory spices.  A wall of mouth-filling ginger and chewy spice (especially allspice) overwhelms the tongue, giving way to a strong, bitter chocolate aftertaste.  It grows in complexity the closer it gets to room temperature, with molasses and even slight citrus zest entering the picture.  I would love to taste this beer again after it’s been cellared for a few years, when the bakers’ chocolate flavors would presumably settle into something silkier.

  4 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4 Toasts

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