I’m still at the Stone Brewing event, as we finally get this beer here in Central Illinois. I’ve already had (this evening) their Double Bastard and the Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, and wanted to get something that might be a little more rare than these. When I sampled this, it had some really interesting flavors, so I capped off the evening with this one.
Numbers: 6% ABV
Appearance & Aroma: It was deep brown/black in color with a solidly creamy, tan head on it. There was a smoky aroma that was most noticeable, along with some hints of chocolate and vanilla.
Taste & Feel: The body was medium and it was very smooth and creamy to drink. The flavors were instantly very complex with a mix of chocolate and roasty porter flavors up front. In the finish, the flavors from the bourbon barrel started to come through. The smokiness was complemented by an almost burnt barrel flavor, and quite a bit of vanilla came through. There were hints of bourbon, but the flavors in the finish and aftertaste seemed to come mostly from the barrel.
Food Pairing: The flavors reminded me a lot of dessert, almost like a light combination of a baked Alaskan and tiramisu. Therefore, I think this would go great as a dessert beer, accompanied by an angel food cake. The beer is flavorful enough that it would be a nice liquid topping on top of the dessert.
Overall Impression: I always enjoy the opportunity to try a rare and unique beer, and you really can’t go wrong with aging this type of beer in a bourbon barrel. The smoky flavors from the malt and the char of the barrel went very nicely together. I think I was expecting a bit more of a bourbon flavor, but the flavors from the barrel really enhanced the complexity of the existing flavors rather than mask them with bourbon. Overall, I thought this was a pretty good beer, which I hope I might be able to try again sometime.