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Birrificio Montegioco
 
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Review by SAP on 01/15/09  
 
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
88 3 11 18 4 8 2008
375ml bottle; Sampled January 2009
As I pour this I get a solid note of chewy, berry driven, tobacco edged red wine that is reasonably oaked. The beer pours into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip with a frothy, large bubbled, initially half-finger thick, browned, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, well burnt amber color that shows an almost opaque hue to it when held up to the light, but if held just right flashes of deep ruby show through. This is incredibly wine like in the nose, there is also a soft backdrop of funky, ripe cheese and the oak provides a spiciness to this beer that accentuates the alcohol just a bit. Jam-like berry notes, full red currants and concentrated red wine notes are joined by a touch of buttery oak, some solid vanillin notes and a raw, freshly cut oak note. This has got to have been aged in Red Wine barrels of some sort. I am really digging the nose on this beer, it is incredibly complex, though I suppose much of the malt / hop character has been consumed by its stay in the barrel. I really like the touch of funkiness in the aroma that this has picked up.

Lightly carbonated the beer has a lightness to it that makes it seem a cross between a red wine and a strong Belgian Ale. It has a touch of viscous heft to it as well as a light sweetness that accentuates some dark fruit notes of black currants, tannic cherries, concentrated blackberries and perhaps a touch of raspberry. The beer finishes with a nice oak character that is in well balance with the other flavor components; some tannic, spicy oak, a solid woody bite and a bit of buttery oak character in the finish. This has a touch of tartness to it that is wrapped up in the wine-notes somehow. I have finally noticed a bit of beer character here as this beer has a toasted malt middle to it as well as a hint of caramel and toffee, these last mix in with the buttery oak character. There is a certain nuttiness here that seems to be a product of the malt and oak character (this last almost tastes of coconut at times). Perhaps a hint of cocoa is noticeable at times, but this is quite subtle.

This is one marriage of wine and beer that is more on the wine side of the aisle. Definitely surprising given that this is a malt / hop product, and while this is incredibly tasty, even fantastic, the weakness of this beer is that it does not taste enough like a beer. Still I will happily consume this any day.

Served In: Tulip

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