12oz bottle, Sampled February 2006
This beer is well carbonated, it starts to foam up a bit once I pop the cap. It pours a lightly hazy full amber color and is topped by an initially two-finger thick, frothy, quickly disappearing tan colored head. The aroma is devoid of sweetness, and has a forward tartness to it, as well as an evident barrel character. There is a definite woody note here, which is quickly followed by a bit of alcohol, or at least a remnant of the bourbon from the barrel. I would not say that the bourbon is specifically noticeable as such, but it does contribute here. There is an underlying fruitiness here, which is just able to poke out underneath the other aromatics; I get note of sour plum, and apples. As my nose becomes used to the aroma a bit of sweetness is detected, in fact it even becomes quite evident. This mainly brings out some other fruit notes including that of strawberry, and perhaps even some tropical fruit; interesting.
The beer has a certain fullness to it up front, which is perhaps contributed by some of the up front, light sweetness. Through the middle this beer has a nice light fruitiness that evokes thoughts of both sour and aromatic/ sweet apples, as well as some sour plum notes, and even a bit of berry character. From the middle on through to the finish the bourbon barrel starts to show itself, again it is not specifically traceable to bourbon, but does contribute an oak-like woodiness, and a bit of a hard liquor type notes. The barrel actual does effect the entire palate of the beer; the fullness that I initially noticed can definitely be attributed to the fullness that tannins add to a beer. As the beer begins to warm up the soft fruit notes begin to pick up a bit, and actually help to balance out the barrel character; I get notes of pear as well as the prior noticed apple and plum. This beer is only lightly tart, not nearly as much acidity as the more recent offerings. There is some definite subtle Brettanomyces notes here as well; a light mustiness is here, with a hint of that sort of horse-blanket note.
The nice thing about this beer is that the bourbon barrel character is not too strong, in fact it is quite subtle and allows much of the natural notes of this beer to come through. This is a really nice beer, but it does not quite live up to the bar set by both the Bam Bier and the Fuego del Otono that I have had recently (admittedly those set a very high bar). I think that a bit more acidity here would really help the over all character, and definitely would up the complexity. In fact with the light barrel notes, a bit more tartness would really work quite well. With all that said, this is quite a good beer, lots of complexity and flavors, definitely worth trying, and I could definitely use a lot more of this.
Served In: Tulip
Another beer I am able to try thanks to the generosity of iceicebaby.
12oz bottle Grand Reserve oak aged 21 months, batch 130/131. I received this one in the summer of 08.
Pours a dark amber with a half inch of foam. Pretty good retention, a well formed ring around the tulip glass.
Instantly I pick up some sour green apples, oak, cherries, vinegar, sour berries, sweet and sour oranges, spicy and citrus grains of paradise, and lemony coriander. There’s also a delicate toast sweetness that wants to be more present but the acidity and acetic qualities push it to the back, maybe when it warms up I can pick up more malt. Slight plastic aroma but very faint. I’m picking up a little more oak and spices with a complex vinegar background, almost to the degree of a Flemish sour. Some toast and caramel sweetness once the beer warms up a bit, also a touch of salty crackers.
A little more reserved on the palate but still complex. I first get a citrus bitterness greeting, in the form of hops, then the spicy and lemony coriander and grains of paradise come in. A bit of vinegar in the middle but well contained so it does not overpower the beer. Some oak in the finish. Semi-dry finish at first but it seems to intensity with each sip. Feels a tad thin near the finish. Old bread or old toast flavor in the end. More brett and leather flavor as the beer warms up. I was really digging the flavor the first few sips but after half the bottle the lemony flavors of the coriander and grains of paradise with the oak get a little tiring.
Soft, delicate, and bubbly on the palate. Very enjoyable mouthfeel. Low to medium carbonation, very easy to drink as well.
Served In: Tulip
A - Pour produces a bright white head that is about a half inch tall and medium density. Body is a burnt orange color, clean and clear.
S - Wow, really big nose here. Huge citris notes of lemon and lime. Monstrous sourness that doesn't let up. It almost stings the nostrils it's so pungent. Light oakiness hides behind. Lots of spices going on here too. Don't know how this could smell better.
T - Ok, starts off with big citrus notes of lemon and lime zest. It's not really the whole fruit, just the zest. Oakiness comes in with very slight burnt and vanilla flavors. A whole lot of brett in this one I think. Lime yogurt in abundance. Moves on to big spice notes, with coriander and grains of paradise, maybe just a touch of pepper. Lime flavor along with the spices linger on the tongue for a while.
M - Medium bodied. Low carbonation.
Overall - Great brew here. Wish I could make a comparison between when I got the bottle and now, as this seems like it could even go further. Highly recommended.
Served In: Tulip
Color is hazy, brown-orange. Smell is citrus and sour, somewhat muted.
Can taste something like Brett in this one. I had a Sanctification last night, and this reminds of that fact in a good way. I like the sour a lot. Tart green apples mixed with citrus. Can certainly taste the oak. Not had the original, so can not compare it to that in taste.
Since I have no comp to the original, I can only say that I liked this one quite a bit. The tart and oak come out and make it easy to drink.
Served In: Pint Glass
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