Miscellaneous Imperial Stouts

© 2014 popsonhops.com

© 2014 popsonhops.com

Tasting: October 20, 2014
Style: Imperial Stout (Whiskey Barrel Aged)
Beer #: 633

The Gentleman Imperial Stout by Naked Brewing of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania – an imperial stout. Even though it doesn’t say on the label – the store label says that this stout was aged whiskey barrels. While the 10% ABV says imperial stout – the thinnish base stout says otherwise. The barrel influence really reminds of red wine, tannins and all. Not a fan 70 points and I need another trip to the basement fridge to find something else.

Tasting: October 20, 2014
Style: Imperial Stout (Whiskey Barrel Aged)
Beer #: 634

Moonlight Drive by Southbound Brewing of Savannah, Georgia – a coffee stout. This came to me as an extra in my first trade on the Beer Exchange way back in March. The label lists an IBU of 70 and an SRM of 35. Also gives a bottling month of March. Again, a little watery – but somewhat interesting. It does deliver some coffee notes and although it isn’t saying much, it’s an improvement on The Gentleman Imperial Stout. I’ll put Moonlight Drive at a tolerable 83 points

Tasting: October 21, 2014
Style: Imperial Stout (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Beer #: 635

2014 Imperial Stout by Shipyard Brewing of Portland, Maine. This is bottle number 1,642 of an undisclosed lot. It checks in at 11% ABV. An IBU of 47. I judge my bourbon-barrel aged stouts by the balance of the base stout and the barrel-influence. Once again, the base stout here is watery and totally pushed around by the bourbon influence of wood, vanilla and a boozy burn. It lacks coffee, chocolate or any roasted flavors. The bourbon-barrel influence carries this stout to an 86 in my book.

Share it!
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Retribution Du Claw

Tasting: February 28, 2014
Style: Stout (Barrel-aged Russian Imperial)
Beer #: 520

Retribution Du Claw Brewing

© 2014 pops on hops

Retribution

Even though this Maryland brewer has been brewing since 1996 – Du Claw has just arrived on shelves in New Jersey. Reading about the brewery, there is one thing that jumps out at me – the corporate branding statement – “make it cool”. Nothing wrong with aiming to be hip is there? While I found a number of Du Claw beers at a random stop along the way home from Trenton yesterday, it was a quick decision when I spied this bottle of bourbon-barrel aged Russian imperial stout. The alcohol by volume (ABV) at 11.5% tells me that it should have some viscosity as alcohol is thicker than water. We’ll see. A little further information from the bottle tells me that it was drawn from barrel number three of fifteen which was aged in an American white oak barrel from March 19, 2013 to September 23, 2013.

Out of the gate, Retribution is mellow and somewhat complex. Definitely bourbon-barrel forward with smokey charred oak and vanilla flavors. The stout itself is light with cocoa and cherries. Has a somewhat astringent boozy, crisp finish. Retribution certainly isn’t a massive, over the top Russian imperial stout. The more I work my way through this bomber-sized bottle, it strikes me that this is an example of a stout being more barrel than stout. It seems like someone left a helping of bourbon in the barrel. Reminds me of my own mixology of adding a half teaspoon of bourbon in a Founders Imperial Stout in an attempt to recreate Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Actually, it reminds me of Cricket Hill’s bourbon-barrel aged imperial porter. Retribution still delivers some stickiness and still delivers some interesting flavor albeit in an awkward marriage of the bourbon and stout. I’ll still put Retribution at 88 points.

Share it!
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Southern Charred Stone Brewing

Southern Charred Stone Brewing

Photo © 2014 popsonhops.

Southern Charred

Tasting: January 11, 2014
Style: Ale
Beer #: 511

There was a radio station in New York that had a feature called “Desert Island Discs”. As you might guess, the idea was for listeners to suggest three compact discs that would be a must have if stranded on an island . I guess if I had to choose three right this minute they would be:

XTC: Non-Such This CD came out in 1992. It was the soundtrack of my newlywed years. My favorite band – catchy tunes and witty lyrics.

Live: Throwing Copper. This disc has been everywhere – in the car, in my CD player on my disc man (yes, remember those) and into iTunes. I never get tired of it.

Modest Mouse: Good News for People Who Love Bad News. This disc always seems to be in my car carousel. Brilliant lyrics and sudden musical shifts. Listen to “Missed the Boat”, you’ll see why I’m hooked.

Let’s switch it up and ask the question, what three beers would you like to have on hand if stranded on a desert island? Rules are that since you’d be there for a while, you would have to be able to buy it by the case (sorry that eliminates the likes of KBS) and it has to be available where you live. Me? I’d aim for a variety so, I’d aim for an IPA, a stout and a strong ale or barley wine. I’m sure I’d have an “aha” moment in a day or two but for now my choices would be…

Ballast Point Sculpin (95 points)
Stone Double Bastard (95 points)
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout (96 points)

Of course, I didn’t take refrigeration into consideration – but hey it’s just a game. Feel free to leave your choices in a comment.

Double Bastard is just a totally interesting ale with the triumvirate of appeal – woodsy, bitter and sweet. I think I’ve had at least one bottle in my fridge at any given time for about three years now. I stock up every November and we enjoyed a surprise mid-year influx this past year. So, when I learned that Stone was releasing three variants of Double Bastard – Crime, Punishment and Southern Charred – it obviously piqued my interest and the search was on. I zeroed in on Southern Charred because the other two offerings – Crime and its partner Punishment were infused with hot peppers. Southern Charred however, is Double Bastard aged in a mixture of barrels 51% Kentucky bourbon barrels, 41% repurposed Kentucky bourbon barrels and 8% charred American oak barrels.

Kentucky Breakfast Stout was easier to find – but I ultimately found a single 500 ML bottle of Southern Charred. Pours the color of sludge from a rusty pipe. Getting right into it – smokey rich molasses, a bit of raisin and vanilla. Picking up some surprising dark chocolate as well. Really big time barrel influence on this one. Warming booziness is absolutely just right. Creeping bitterness rises to a perfect level. I love, love, love it — Southern Charred does add to the already classic Double Bastard and I’ll put it at 96 points.

One question…is there (or was there) a Triple Bastard?

Share it!
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Angel’s Share Lost Abbey

Angel’s Share Lost Abbey

Tasting: July 23, 2013
Style: Old Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels
Beer #: 480

Angel's Share Lost Abbey

(c)2013 popsonhops

“Angel’s Share” is a distiller’s term used to describe the evaporation of spirits while aging in oak barrels. Low humidity will cause more water vapors to pass through the cell structure of the oak barrel while high humidity will cause more alcohol to dissipate into thin air.

After the bourbon (or other distilled spirit) is removed from the barrel, the cells of the oak barrel are still gorged with the spirits of bourbon or whiskey. Since bourbon requires the use of newly-charred barrels, these old barrels are useless to distillers. Although the lineage is cloudy, it appears that the first brewer to recycle these rich barrels for the aging malt beverage was Goose Island with their legendary Bourbon County Brand Stout. Now it seems every brewery has a barrel-aged line.

I recently saw a commercial for Jim Beam bourbon called “Devil’s Cut”. Once the bourbon is removed from the barrel, they claim to have a proprietary process that will pull the remaining bourbon out of the cell fibers of the barrel itself. Hopefully, it doesn’t catch on as I like the current use of these old bourbon barrels.

Angel’s Share Pours an opaque cola brown, strong nose of brown sugar and alcohol ethers. First sip impression is that this is a rich syrupy ale filled with flavor. Strong raisin, chocolate and toffee. Barrel influence hits you with vanilla and earthy oak. Some green apple pops on the palate while the alcohol heat masks some of the mid-range and finishing flavors. Angel’s Share would definitely benefit with some age and at 12.5% ABV – it can certainly lay down for a few years. For now, I’ll put Angel’s Share at 92 points. At $15.99 for a twelve ounce bottle, I’m hesitant to stock pile, but I’m thankful I have another two bottles to check back on in a couple of years.

Share it!
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •