Tasting: June 3, 2017 Style: American Triple / Imperial IPA Beer #: 1,066 ABV: 12.4%
Founders Doom, Barrel-Aged Imperial IPA
There have been 14 different releases in Founders Backstage Series. The series features pub favorites reproduced for the masses. And by masses, I mean the select few that get their names on lists; get to a beer store minutes after the truck leaves or find a dusty one in a store that should never have had it in the first place.
This particular beer was originally released in 2013 and was the sixth original beer in the series. A vacation kept me from acquiring a bottle the first time around. Tough call there, vacation? or beer run? I heard awesome things about Doom and I’m happy that they obliged with an encore.
In case you were wondering, here is the current log of Backstage Series releases:
A few years ago, I sent an email to a soup company about reducing the size of their can. It went from 20 ounces to 19 ounces. The price was the same, I just thought it shouldn’t go unnoticed. I did get a reply from the company. They stated that “consumer demand” was behind the move. Who were these consumers? They must have been liquored up at some focus group to agree with giving people less for the same price is a good idea. Must have been a group of politicians.
Speaking of being liquored up. While most would applaud moving to a larger bottle or can of beer. I was not a fan of Goose Island moving Bourbon County Brand Stout from a 12 ounce bottle to a 16.9 ounce bottle. The single 12 ounce bottle price was about $5. At 16.9 ounces, it went to about $10. That’s 42 cents per ounce moving to 59 cents per ounce (a 40% increase). In a karma moment, the first release after the size change was tainted by infected barrels and massive recalls.
My big issue with Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout, was moving something that boozy into a larger bottle. I don’t think that move was in the consumer’s best interest. I think the ideal move for “stronger” beer is to move to smaller cans or bottles. Of course, my expectation is that I’ll pay about the same per ounce. It just makes sense.
I guess Firestone Walker listened to consumer demand and announced in January that all of their proprietor’s vintage beers would now be released in 12 ounce bottles. One other bonus is that there are more units of their limited releases available. I just picked up their latest proprietor’s vintage release a 12 ounce bottle of Bravo for $8. That’s a fair deal. I’m hoping that next month’s release of Parabola is comparable.
This bottle of Helldorado is 22 ounces and checks in at robust 13.2% alcohol by volume. That’s just too much for one person to enjoy responsibly in one sitting. Thankfully, I have a friend that helped me out. I’ve aged this bottle for about a year and a half and had hopes that the booziness would mellow a bit. Well, Helldorado is still boozy but it has a bright pop of raisin and brown sugar. More of a traditional English barley wine here. Boozy character and all, 88 points.
There is a street located in South Salem, New York named Captain Lawrence Drive. It’s named for Captain Samuel Lawrence, a leader of the Westchester Militia who fought in New England during the American Revolutionary War. Captain Lawrence is buried a short distance from the street that bears his name and brewery owner Scott Vaccaro grew up on this very Captain Lawrence Drive. An easy connect the dots to the name of his Elmsford, NY brewery.
I’ll note that there is a non-barrel version of Frost Monster and although the labels are basically the same, this barrel-aged version comes in a twelve ounce bottle with a cork and cage presentation.
After popping open the cork in this twelve ounce bottle, I’m pouring a snifter about an inch deep with this oak barrel-aged Frost Monster from Captain Lawrence Brewing Company. The pour leaves me a frothy khaki colored sitting on top of the deep black stout like ice cream atop a root beer float. Right up front, the oak barrel influence of damp wood and vanilla of Frost Monster pierce through a mellow and somewhat complex base stout. Cherries, smoke and chocolate meld under a bit too much carbonation and a firm astringent boozy burn. A real mixed bag here. I think a little age might just take the edge off these two glaring negatives in Frost Monster. I have another bottle and I think, I’ll check back on its progress in a couple of years.
As of right now, I’d put Frost Monster at a respectable 89 points.
Tasting: July 15, 201 Style: Old Ale Beer #: 772 ABV: 13.5%
Like whiskey and bourbon, tequila is liquor that produced by distilling a fermented product similar to beer. Through a condensation process, the distillery will remove components like water to produce a higher alcohol version of the base product. So, you can say that beer and whiskey are related. Whiskey utilizes what amounts to an un-hopped Scottish ale brewed to about 9% alcohol by volume (ABV) as its base brew and likewise, tequila comes from the fermented nectar of the blue agave plant.
According to The Lost Abbey website, Agave Maria is strong ale is created by using agave nectar, so this may resemble the same base brews used to make tequila. As an added measure Lost Abbey ages this 13.5% ABV for a minimum of ten months in oak barrels formerly used to age Anejo and Reposada tequila.
Agave Maria tasting notes from the brewery: hints of black pepper, sweet sugar, oatmeal, and oak with an earthy, bitter smoked chocolate on the finish. The base beer, a new Agave strong ale, was created specifically to pair with the spiciness of the Tequila, adding a sweet honey-like quality to the beer.
I’ll call Agave Maria unique. I certainly get a tequila influence and it’s got a wallop of brown sugar sweetness. I get a smokey peat flavor. Very complex but not for everyone’s taste. I like it and I’ll put Agave Maria at 91 points.