Its one of the first Saturdays that we have nothing we have to do, so my wife and I are relaxing on the back deck. The moment just called for a beer, so I reached into the beer fridge to see what I could come up with. This is one of the big beers my friend Travis gave me from his vacation to Virginia Beach about a month ago. I’ve been wanting to try this one for a long time… ever since I homebrewed my own wood aged IPA. To be honest, mine wasn’t very good at first, but after a year or two of aging, it was great. The bottle says, “This special ale is a two-thread blend of young & wood aged Imperial IPA.” It has a bottled on date of 3/4/13.
Location: Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass from at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 10% ABV, 70 IBUs, ~320 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s copper-orange in color and fairly hazy. It had a good sized, foamy white head, which fell to a thin layer at the top. It has a mix of citrus and woody aroma with hints of caramel and breadiness.
Taste & Feel: The body is full and the mouthfeel is pretty creamy. The flavor up front is a sweet mix of caramel and honey maltiness, transitioning smoothly into the middle, where a warm woodiness comes through. In the finish, the citrusy hop bitterness and flavor comes in, rising slightly above the caramel-honey maltiness. The citrusy hop flavors last for a minute or two in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This is a big beer, so enjoying food with it is a good idea. It’s full and sweet, so you’ll want something with a backbone that can stand up to it. For me, I’d go with a thick, juicy burger, as the caramel and honey maltiness would mix nicely with the bun, and the burger would stand up to the hop flavors and bitterness.
Overall Impression: I really enjoyed the complex mix of flavors in this beer, from caramel and honey to woodiness and citrus. It transitioned very smoothly between these flavors. Since it’s barrel aged, I was expecting a bit of a heavier barrel flavor, but it was nice and subtle. Overall, I felt this was a very flavorful, smooth, full beer, that I’ll definitely have to try again. Huge thanks to Travis for giving me this one and letting me try it!