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07-14-02

Beer Review #300 Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale

07-14-02For this site’s 300th beer review, I figured that I should post about a special beer. It also so happens that today’s review covers one of my favorite local breweries, Evolution Craft Brewing Company. They make some fantastic beer that is always fresh and hits the spot. Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale is part of their Migration Series of beer, which are seasonal and always barrel aged. My bottle happened to be #795 of 1400 bottles produced. This winter 2012 edition has the following to say on the label, “a dark ale aged eight months in oak bourbon barrels.” It also comes in at 10.5%. This might not be a summer beer style but good is good anytime of the year.

This beer pours a dark black with a tan head that quickly fades. It is too dark to see if it is clear or not, even when tipped and held up to the light. The nose has a light bourbon aroma that provides a bit of heat and warmth. A good helping of roasted malt and dark chocolate are being the bourbon and really provide some great malt notes. I got just a hint of oak, but not as much as I was expecting for a beer aged for eight months.

Roasted malt and dark chocolate come threw first on the first taste. And as a bourbon barrel aged beer should, this beer has kick of bourbon and oak. The bourbon is very mild and really blends well with the malt. The oak smooths out the flavor and helps blend everything together nicely. There is a slight hop bitterness at the end but nothing that is overly complex or strong. This one drinks creamy and thick. A true sipper.

I really dug this one. It is one of the smoothest and most balanced bourbon aged beers that I have ever had. The bourbon isn’t crazy intense on this beer, but adds a good amount of complexity and depth to a already great beer. I really wish there were more than 1400 bottles of this produced and I will be keeping an eye out for when the 2013 version comes out. (more…)

Beer Review #275 Oak Horizontal

03-01-01 I make no secret of my love for Victory Brewing Company. There are a number of outstanding breweries around the Philadelphia area, but I think that I would be most upset if Victory were to close down. Luckily, that doesn’t look to be in the cards as they are adding a second brewery. Oak Horizontal is another beer in their barrel aging series (not an official name). The bottle says a “malt beverage aged in bourbon barrels.” And this bad boy rocks in at 10.5%. Old Horizontal is Victory’s barleywine and this is a barrel aged version of it.

Oak Horizontal (I love the word play) pours a nice caramel brown color. It has an off-white head and is slightly hazy. The nose has a nice bourbon note, though not overpowering, along with some nice bits of vanilla. The maltiness of this beer is apparent in the nose but there are no hops to speak of. I’m not sure if they are washed out by the bourbon or if the additional aging knocked them out of the aroma spectrum.

This beer begins surprisingly with a light malt flavor. I was expecting big bold malt, but not so. There are bits of caramel and toffee mixed in but not to the same extent as the non-barrel aged version of this beer. The light malt folds into a bourbon malt flavor. The bourbon is very smooth and enjoyable. An aged hops flavor can be tasted on the back-end with some slight spiciness.

Victory produced a wonderfully smooth barrel aged beer with Oak Horizontal. It is very drinkable and bourbon and barleywine go perfectly together. This is a perfect cigar beer and a sipper. I drank this over the course of two hours and enjoyed every bit of it. The $15 price tag was a bit high, but it did live up to my expectations. (more…)

Michelob Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale Beer Review

When I first saw a case of this beer sitting at my local beer store, I was intriguing. A bit excited to tell the truth. There was a snowman holding a bottle of beer and wearing some sweet shades, all of this to advertise a bourbon cask ale. Sounded wonderful!

When I got home, I threw a six-pack in the fridge and noticed that this beer was made by Michelob. There was no evidence of this on the box (or else I would not of gotten it), but I already opened it so it was too late. I don’t hate Michelob, I just don’t like that they are pretending to be a craft brewery when you are really an InBev product. The bottles read:

“Winter ale aged on bourbon oak casks and whole Madagascar vanilla beans. 6.0% ABV.”

I waited from them to get cold and two hours later, they were ready to drink. When I think of a winter beer, I generally think of something dark and heavy and full of alcohol. I think the same thing when I hear of bourbon and cask. I popped the top to a nice little pfff and poured it into my glass. This stuff was a copper colored!?! Nothing like what I was expecting. It had a thin head that disappeared within seconds.

A bit annoyed, I cleared my head and decided to give the beer a chance to say something. The first smells were sweet and strongly vanilla. There is a hint of malt and no hops at all. Upon first sip I didn’t really enjoy it at all. It tasted like cream soda. There was also a strange metalic taste that I did not enjoy at all. There was also very little carbonation and no flavor of bourbon.┬áSome beers get better as you drink through the glass, this is not one of them. I let about half of the glass sit for a bit to see if it being warmed helped at all; no change.

I was very, very disappointed by this beer. I expected something totally different, and the flavor of the beer completly ruined any positives I held on to. Don’t get fooled, don’t buy this beer, don’t look at this beer! (more…)