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Beer Review #268 Red Thunder

02-04-02 I have yet another barrel aged beer for review today. I only noticed today how many barrel aged beers that I have had in the past month or so. I still have a few more to review, but I’ll hold them off for some time. Today’s beer comes from my original favorite craft brewery, Victory Brewing Company. If for some reason all craft breweries were going to close and I could save one of them, it would be Victory. I’ve had one of their barrel aged beers before (and I have another in the fridge) but this is the first of their beers to be aged on red wine barrels.

Red Thunder is the same base beer as their Baltic Thunder, but aged in wine barrels. It comes in at 8.5%. Red Thunder pours a flat redish brown color. It has a thin off-white head that fades to just a layer on the top. The nose has a wine, tart smell. It was a “big beer” character to the smell. It isn’t overly malty in aroma and there isn’t any heat, but you can get the sense that this is a big beer.

On the first taste I got a slight sourness. I believe that the tart flavor is thanks to the wine barrel aging. As the tartness quickly faded away I was greeted by my old friend, Baltic Thunder. Red Thunder has a lot of porter qualities to it. The malty flavor gives way to some really nice roasty, chocolatey notes. The wine barrel aging really complimented this beer and added a nice twist.

I like this one and it makes me want to experiment with wine barrel aging on my own homebrews. There is a very nice mix of wine flavor and baltic porter. It’s not my favorite barrel aged beer in the world, but it does give me a few ideas for the future. Special thanks to my buddy Mike for sharing this one with me. (more…)

Beer Review #86 Brooklyn Winter Ale

The Brooklyn Brewery is one of the first breweries that I fell in love with when I got into craft beer. They helped open my eyes on many different beer and always gave a good example of what a style should be. I also read their book which was a good read and very informative. I’m not going to lie, unlike many of the beers that I review on this website, I’ve had today’s beer many time. I simply love it.

Brooklyn Winter Ale is another Scottish Ale style beer in the winter category. Hibernator was also in the same boat, but I don’t think that it did a very good job of delivering on a winter style beer. Let’s see if this beer falls into the same trap or not.

To begin with it pours a rich redish brown with a off-white head. It is perfectly clear as well. The nose has a lot happening. It has lots of malt, grain, and some biscuit notes as well. I dig beers that have a smell along the lines of this. My first taste (not really true) was pretty malty. There is a nice biscuit aftertaste that hits the right note with my flavor palette. There are a fair amount of noble hops in there as well. Much more than what the nose would let you believe.

My only problem is that this beer doesn’t give me the feeling of winter. Sure it is malty, more so than Hibernator, and it tastes great, but is isn’t hitting the winter note. I’ve purchased this beer many times, because it is a good beer, but winter, not so much. It comes in at 6.1% ABV so it is in the session range as well. Try it out if you like malty beers with a good hop finish and great aftertaste. If you are looking for spicy winter ale, keep looking. (more…)