Tasting: August 15, 2014
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout
Beer #: 584
Brewer’s Reserve Stout
With thirteen of my last fourteen beers entered being either an IPA or an Imperial IPA, I have to admit that my tastebuds have had enough – they are just screaming for a change of pace. Since today felt more like a crisp fall day, my mind has turned to big hearty beer like barley wine and stouts. To boot, I acquired a bucket list stout today – Surly Brewing’s Darkness. I’m very fired up about stout to say the least.
Brewer’s Reserve Stout made by Central Waters Brewing Company of Wisconsin. Since this is not available in New Jersey and distribution in just six states this was a purchase in Rockland County, New York. Brewer’s Reserve Stout is aged for one full year in twelve year old bourbon barrels. The resulting stout is 9.5% alcohol by volume.
Since its been a while in between my entries on bourbon barrel aged stouts Let me explain that bourbon is an American whiskey product and to be called bourbon, it needs to be aged in new, charred oak barrels. Since the barrels can’t be re-used in a product that would be certified as bourbon, the barrels have been given a second life and used in aging beer. There are a number of varieties that utilize barrels but the most common application is imperial stouts. While aging in barrels bourbon passes through the oak’s fibers and evaporate into what distillers call “angel’s share”. Since the oak is permeated with bourbon’s signature flavors like vanilla. The barrel’s wood imparts bourbon’s characteristics into these stouts.
Brewer’s Reserve Stout pours a cola brown. Not as opaque I would have thought. The nose is definitely bourbon and chocolate fountain syrup. Flavor follows the aroma – a ping pong match between rich chocolate, treacle and vanilla oaky bourbon flavors. A little thin in the mouthfeel – and it’s the fatal flaw. Brewer’s Reserve Stout was certainly a much needed jolt to my taste buds. One sip a classic and one sip the thin mouthfeel bums me out. I’ll split the difference and put it at 89 points.