890. Fremont Brewing – 2012 Bourbon Barrel Abominable Winter Ale

We had a great afternoon today. First, we went to a lunch celebration for our neighbor’s birthday. Then, we went to a Mizzou alumni watch party, and watched my Tigers beat Kentucky. After having a couple beers at the watch party, I decided to crack one open when I got home. I’ve got a lot of great stuff in the cellar, and I’m realizing that much of it is five or more years old. So, I decided to start cracking some of it open. This beer was sent to me by my cousin, who lives in Seattle, and knows I love great bourbon barrel aged beers. With the wax top on the bottle, and sitting at 11% ABV, I knew this one would last a few years. But, I think it’s finally time to crack it open.

Location: Poured into a TEKU pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.

Numbers: 11% ABV, ~400 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It’s super dark black, and I can’t see any light through it even when held up directly to the light. I noticed how viscous it was while I was pouring it, and despite my good pour, the head dissipated very quickly – almost like a soda. The aroma is awesome! It’s a rich bourbon barrel smell with a good dose of dark chocolate sweet roastiness.

Taste & Feel: The body is thick and the mouthfeel is silky smooth and viscous. The flavor up front is a very sweet dark malty sweetness mixed with the vanilla-caramel flavors from the barrel with hints of barrel-char roastiness. The middle is a solid but very smooth sweetness with more of the dark caramel toasty malt sweetness coming through. The finish is a big, sweet dose of maltiness, mixed with wonderful vanilla-caramel bourbon barrel flavor. These sweet malty flavors mixed with caramel-vanilla bourbon barrel last for a minute in the aftertaste, and add to a very nice alcohol warmth that’s noticeable after a minute or so.

Food Pairing: This is one of those beers that’s so incredible, and complex, you just want to enjoy it all by itself. However, if you do decide to have it with food, I think the only appropriate pairing would be an aged steak with nice seasonings and a little hint of char to complement the beer.

Overall Impression: WOW! This is an incredible beer and offers all of the flavors I love – a malty sweetness with a rich dark flavor that’s not astringent or bitter along with a complex bourbon barrel flavor that contributes a very light char and vanilla and caramel bourbon flavors. Even after five years, it’s body is super solid with a silky smooth mouthfeel. It reminds me quite a bit of Bourbon County Stout. This was truly a treat, and I’m definitely asking my cousin to send more! Thanks Steve!!!

My Rating: ★★★★★

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Author: kkozlen

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