Bourbon Barrel Aged Tres Blueberry by Dark Horse Brewing

Bourbon Barrel Aged Tres Blueberry Stout by Dark Horse Brewing Company, Marshall, Michigan

(C) 2016 popsonhops

Tasting: May 14, 2016
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout (fruit added)
Beer #: 937
ABV: 7.5%

Bourbon Barrel Aged Tres Blueberry

Each year, Dark Horse Brewing of Marshall, Michigan releases (in order) five stouts:

Dark Horse: One Oatmeal, Too Cream, Tres Blueberry, Fore Smoked and Plead the 5th

At the brewery’s annual 4 Elf festival, they release a barrel-aged version of Plead the 5th as well as some other “brewery only” goodies. This wax-dipped bottle was part of the 2015 4 Elf Festival and came as a bonus beer. In fact, my trade partner sent two bottles. Plead the 5th was my favorite of the five. While the blueberry influence was artificial in Tres Blueberry, it was interesting. I’m excited to see what influence a bourbon barrel will have on this stout.

Frankly, I don’t get much in the way of a barrel influence. Not surprised that the blueberry remains more of a lab created essence than real fruit. I really don’t see any difference with this and the base version so, I’ll peg Bourbon Barrel Aged Tres Blueberry at the same 87 points.

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So Happens Its Tuesday by The Bruery

So Happens Its Tuesday by The Bruery

© 2016 popsonhops

Tasting: January 6,2016
Style: Imperial Stout (Bourbon-Barrel Aged)
Beer #: 887
ABV: 11.4%

So Happens Its Tuesday by The Bruery

The new year began with quite a craft beer stir. According to a message board thread on a craft beer trading site, a New Jersey beer distributor had posted Black Tuesday by The Bruery amongst their upcoming week’s releases. According to comments in this thread, the distributor quickly removed the reference. Several confirmed the original post and others went so far as to say that their store sources confirmed that ten cases were earmarked for the state. I checked the distributor’s website and Facebook page and see no such reference – I guess, we’ll see.

It would be an odd distribution as Black Tuesday by The Bruery is released once per year on the final Tuesday of October. It’s usually sold on-line with pick up only at the California brewery. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time we would see a parachute distribution. I’ll be sure to check with my own sources on Monday.

Turns out that the “Tuesday” stout released this week was So Happens Its Tuesday by The Bruery. Marketed as a more “affable” little brother to the 19% alcohol by volume behemoth. Still checks in at a robust 11.4% ABV. Funny, I couldn’t remember the name of this beer countless times during the day and then it hit me — the acronym is S.H.I.T. Uh-oh, is it code for their impressions of So Happens Its Tuesday? I’ll note that the 2014 version of this beer was claimed to have been infected by many in the Beer Advocate community. Double uh-oh.

Impressions? Certainly not S.H.I.T. and certainly not infected. The boozy heat cuts through So Happens Its Tuesday like a light saber. You have to work your around that booziness the decipher the complex toffee, caramel, tootsie roll chocolate. Some mellow vanilla notes as well. One sip it seems thin but I think the boozy heat strips the palate. I’ll put So Happens Its Tuesday at a very good 90 points but it could have been so much more if it was truly a tamed beast. The flavor complexity and balance are beautiful but you shouldn’t have to fight the booziness to find it.

As an aside, I acquired two bottles of Black Tuesday by The Bruery in two separate trades and I’m letting them age a little to smooth out what I expect to be massive boozy heat.

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Crasher in the Rye by Clown Shoes

Crasher in the Rye by Clown Shoes

© 2015 popsonhops

Crasher in the Rye

Tasting: July 31, 2015
Style: Oatmeal Milk Stout (barrel-aged)
Beer #: 779
ABV:11.5%

I know the temperatures and humidity of late July this year have made these days uncomfortable and I probably should be enjoying a cold “lawn mower” beer. I love stout too much to limit it to just the cold weather and frankly, drinking a stout doesn’t make me sweat any less or doesn’t degrade my comfort level.

I’m excited to try this beer from Clown Shoes. In my opinion they do a masterful job on their barrel-aged stouts. To boot they present good value in this category. Here’s some of my past experience:

Clown Shoes – Garden State Rhapsody – 92 points
Clown Shoes – Extremely Angry Beast – 93 points
Clown Shoes – Undead Party Crasher – 89 points
Clown Shoes – Blaecorn Unicorn – 88 points

Initially, Crasher in the Rye opens up with a smokey flavor that transitions to some chocolate sweetness and vanilla undertone. Crasher in the Rye finishes with a nice roasted flavor that increases in bitterness with each sip. Really creamy mouthfeel; probably from the use of oats and/or milk sugars. This Clown Shoes stout masterfully conceals the massive alcohol by volume. Crasher in the Rye cashes in at 92 points.

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Silva Stout by Green Flash

Silva Stout Batch 1 by Green Flash

© 2015 popsonhops

Tasting: May 8, 2015
Style: Bourbon-Barrel Aged Stout
Beer #: 744
ABV: 10.1%

Silva Stout

Lots of information contained on the back label but let me summarize:

This is Green Flash’s Double Barrel Stout aged in bourbon barrels for eighteen months. This batch (noted as batch 1) was brewed in April of 2013 and then bottled about twenty-two months later. Also noted is that ten gallons of fresh (I assume fresh Double Barrel) were added to each barrel. So, a beer barrel is thirty-one gallons so, Silva is about two-thirds barrel aged mixed with one-third fresh base. IBU is a mild 45.

Silva Stout Batch 1 by Green Flash

© 2015 popsonhops

I’ve read a few opinions that mention butterscotch or off flavors, it does have a very recognizable musty oak flavor and I’m having my doubts. In addition to the off flavors, I also get wine grapes, caramel and a very heavy bourbon barrel influence of vanilla. Silva Stout from Green Flash was disappointing 83 points.

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