Long Trail – Triple Bag

Tasting: December 24, 2011
Style: Ale (Alt – Sticke)

Long Trail Triple Bag 2

Built by the Green Mountain Club between 1910 and 1930, Vermont’s Long Trail is the oldest long distance hiking trail in the United States. It was the model for the Appalachian Trail which coincidentally overlaps with the Long Trail for one hundred miles in southern Vermont. The Long Trail is two hundred seventy two miles long and runs from Vermont’s southern border to its northern border. I’ll assume that the brewery is named for the trail since their logo depicts a hiker. However, it doesn’t appear that the brewery is located on the main trail — too bad.

The people of Vermont take their interactions with nature seriously: outdoor activities — organic farming and eco-friendly practices in homes and even businesses. As an example, the Long Trail brewery has committed to the cause. They use one-third the water of an average brewery, they recycle their spent mash into cattle feed and even using soy inks for their labels. They note on their website that they received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. I’ll give them props because it’s difficult to stand out when its an expected way of life and doing business.

Another note about Long Trail – they acquired fellow Vermont brewer Otter Creek in 2010 and a part of that acquisition was the Wolaver’s line of beers. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Wolaver’s produces a series of certified organic brews. That’s Vermont.

Long Trail Ale is this brewery’s flagship offering and it is a German alt-style beer. As mentioned in my glossary – alt bier is brewed in cool temperatures like a lager — but with ale yeast. It is said to bring out maltiness in the beer. They also produce a beer called Double Bag. That too is a German alt style ale called “Sticke” or Secret ale. It’s a strong ale in flavor and alcohol by volume. So, I’ll have to assume that at 9.2% ABV this “Triple Bag” goes even larger. Before I even pop the top – I can’t help but to think that this might be similar to Otter Creek’s 20th Anniversary Ale. It’s also a large alt-bier made by Long Trail. That one was 12% ABV.

This one pours a rich brown color. Very malty nose. As I suspected, this one really reminds me of Otter Creek’s Anniversary Ale. The only real differences with this one is that the alcohol isn’t so dominant and the malt steps forward considerably more — and that’s good on both counts. This one is akin to a doppel bock or even a tripel bock. Fruity yeast, followed caramel malts with vanilla, prune, raisin and even some cherry flavors, finishes with some marginal bitterness. All in all a nicely balanced ale. Medium bodied with sticky dark fruit sweetness. I’ll put this one at 86.

Read my review of Otter Creek’s 20th Anniversary Ale HERE

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