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Nine Syrah Cask Aged by Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
0.00 % ABV

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Review by SAP on 12/18/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
84 3 10 17 4 8 2008
A soft, steady pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a half finger thick, lightly browned head of foam. The beer is a dark, deeply burnt, amber color (approaching black even), that shows a brilliantly clear, deep ruby color when held up to the light. The aroma has a sweet fruitiness of raisins and figs up front, but then starts to pick up some buttery oak components as well as some wine-like notes towards the finish. The nose is fairly fruity smelling with lots of esters; it definitely leaning towards the rich, dried fruit side of the spectrum with the combination of barrel and malt / yeast character of the base beer. This definitely reminds me of a buttery red wine at times in the nose and there is also a touch of warming and spiciness from the alcohol. The barrel also contributes a nice spicy oak character (just a hint of bourbon) that melds in with the light spiciness of the base beer (hints of clove, a touch of pepper, and perhaps some ginger). As the beer warms the buttery note gets a bit musty and perhaps even rancid, there is also a curing plastic, phenolic type note that just starts to become noticeable and the alcohol can become a bit hot and dominant at times. This is still a nicely complex nose and is one that is fun to spend some time dissecting.

Lightly sweet up front with notes of sweet / tart plum and raisins. Towards the middle the fruitiness takes a turn towards banana notes as well. The beer finishes with a touch of spicy alcohol, some astringent, spicy oak character, a red wine tannic grape skin note (really more on the palate than anything) and a carbonic bite. The barrel and fruit definitely evokes thoughts of a fruity, oak aged red wine, though this has a bit more sweetness than that (though not all that much given the strength of this beer). The buttery oak is subdued compared to the aroma, though it still softly contributes to the flavor here. This beer feels pretty light bodied, but still has a certain viscousness to it as well as some tannic structure that influences the body as well. As the beer warms a solid syrah-wine flavor starts to become much more noticeable with a fruity, berry-like note, a touch of tobacco towards the finish, some black pepper and a solid, tannic oaky finish that just anchors this beer quite nicely in the finish. A touch of cocoa also starts to come out as well.

Quite an interesting beer, it really evokes thoughts of a nicely oaked, red wine married with a mellow Belgian strong beer. It could perhaps use a bit more fermentation character (more spiciness would be nice), but it still interesting and complex enough that I feel like a 12oz bottle was not enough to really grasp, much less fully enjoy this beer. The flavor definitely grew on me the more it warmed up and the more worked my way through my glass, though the aroma perhaps becomes a bit to alcoholic and hot at times (at others, such as just now, it is still quite complex and interesting with even a touch of cocoa, tamari and tamarind noticeable).

Served In: Tulip

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