Style: American Strong Ale
Serving Type: Bottle
Purchased at: 99 Bottles
Aroma: Heavy Bourbon and Brandy aroma’s upfront followed by some light vanilla and oak notes. Alcohol spice kicks in with quite a bit of presence in the nose, nearly vinous at first but seems to settle down, or your nose gets used to it. No hop aroma. If you search for malt character you’ll find a hint of caramel, but this could be coming off the oak as well.
Appearance: Pours a charred wood color coming off deep brown at the top and edges but black through the middle. Looking through the sides the beer appears to pour with good clarity. Next to no head forms with even a moderate pour. Some bubbles form along the rim of the glass, but after a few minutes these have all faded to nothing. No lacing.
Flavor: A smack of vanilla coats the tongue at first before a very strong bourbon and brandy flavor kicks in. If I knew more about these liquors I could describe it better, but there’s something more going on here than just bourbon oak. High alcoholic spice becomes present in the middle and toward the finish where you’ll also find some dark fruit playing into the mix. Finishes with stickiness on the tongue and lingering vanilla.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with light carbonation. Alcohol warms the mouth and back of the throat, and burns just slightly as you swallow. Malt sweetness leaves just a bit of stickiness on the tongue but the alcohol presence dries out the beer in the finish.
Overall: The Bourbon and Brandy flavors are so strong in this beer that it’s nearly an example of a slightly carbonated Bourbon. That said, it’s extremely warming and pleasing on the tongue with flavor complexities ranging from vanilla oak, to bourbon and some dark fruit. There is no indication of hop presence and barley malt character is dominated by the barrel aging. Ultimately, a great beer for a Brandy lover but a bit biased in that direction for a beer lover.
Note: Only after logging into BeerAdvocate to rate this beer did I realize it has in fact been aged in Brandy barrels. I guess that explains all that brandy flavor. I rated this beer a “B+” on BeerAdvocate.