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05-14-05

Beer Review #292 White Monkey

05-14-03I didn’t mean to do this, but today’s review also comes from Victory Brewing Company. White Monkey is a “malt beverage aged in wine barrels.” A little more detail is that White Monkey is Victory’s Golden Monkey, aged in white wine barrels, hence the name, White Monkey. This bad boy rocks in at 9.5%. Once quick side note, I plan on doing a side-by-side with this beer and its base beer in a bit to see how it changes fully.

White Monkey pours a cloudy light orange color. It has a thin white head that isn’t much to look at. The nose is has a bunch of oak in it with some white wine in the background. I’m no wine guru so my descriptors for white wine are going to be very general. Sorry. There are some Belgian spices in there as well which is what really makes Golden Monkey a winner.

This beer starts with a nice touch of light sweetness that eases you into the beer. As the beer malt flavors fade the wine really comes out. It has a slight acidity and dryness that really changes how the beer drinks. As the beer moves through the flavor profiles, some of the Belgian spices come through, but they are much more reserved compared to the mother beer. The wine dryness comes in at the end and gives a nice sharp ending to the beer.

This is one interesting beer. I’m not sure if I totally dig it but I am glad that I tried it. I’m really interested to try a side-by-side and see if my thoughts on this iteration change. I think that this beer will do well with some aged and develop really nicely. (more…)

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 #258 Rapture

01-08-03I have a super beer for today’s review. For that I am sorry. Rapture comes from Weyerbacher Brewing Company out of Easton, PA. The beer is an American Wild Ale and was fermented and aged 18 months entirely inĀ  pinot noir wine barrels. As a note of comparison, most beers that use barrels are aged in barrels, not fermented in them. It’s an interesting story and it must have been a pain in the ass to do.

Rapture pours a nice ruby brown. It is perfectly clear until the dregs at the bottom start getting mixed in. It has a nice light tan head that slowly collapses on itself. The nose is packed with sour smells. There is a light oak wood odor, but a winey sour flavor really dominate the nose on this one.

The taste is tart, but not anywhere near as tart as the nose suggests. It is a very clean tartness that flows nicely from front to back. There are lots of berry fruits that compliment the sour flavor. There are also notes of cherry and wine in there. Rapture dries out quite well at the end and cleans up well.

This is a very nice, drinkable sour beer. Being that it’s so rare, it’s hard to judge the beer properly without getting a little excited. I can tell you that it’s not the best sour that I have ever had, but for a wild ale that is made entirely in barrels, it has a hell of a story. I would be happy to have this one again. (more…)

Want some funk

I’ve brewed a whole lot so far this year and I have done something that I have never done before; brew a lager. I’m three lagers deep currently with plans for one more before my basement starts warming up to above lager temperatures. Other than lagers I have been wanted to try brewing a sour beer for some time. I know that it is a time consuming process that can take years and blending different versions of the beer and all of that, but I still want to do it. My current problem is that I don’t have the fermenter space for it and I would need to dedicate one to just funky beers from now on.

My buddy Mike has been wanted to do a sour for some time as well so I think we are going to brew together at some point and pump one out. He sent me a text today talking about aging in a wine barrel. Since we don’t have the combined capacity to brew that much beer I suggested taking the oak chips that he uses in his wine making and dumping them into our future sour. Now we just need to plan out the beer and decide on what we want to brew. Has anyone out there brewed a sour before and/or do they have any suggestions or resources on brewing sour beers?