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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 #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…)