Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale

This beer sat in my fridge for over a year! I finally got around to tasting it on Christmas (2011) while relaxing in the evening to a movie on or projector. Purchase from Plainfield's Binny's last year out of their discount bottle selection.

Appearance: Crimson Amber with a crystal clarity and glowing brilliance. First glimpse one can acknowledge the large accumulation of bubbles caressing the sides of the glass. Head dissipates quickly, but a soapy film is still supported by the carbonation. This beer must have been carbonated to at least a 2.7.
Aroma: Vanilla resides at the forefront of the scent, followed by a rye and toasted malt bill. The spices and smell of the barrels is prominent throughout. Bourbon, oak, toasted wood and nuts. Nevertheless, this beer remains very clean smelling, with hardly any lacto/pedio or brett from the barrels.
Taste: The vanilla is characterized by more of an extract profile. The sweetness has a neutral flavor, which makes me think that this beer was of a light typical 2-row base or adjunct (rice/corn) and the sweetness was extracted from the barrels or some other source. A bit peppery with spicy phenols at the finish. Similarly, notes of herbalness follow on through to the finish. As the beer warms, it even develops a cocoa flavor.
Mouthfeel: Somewhat of a watery mouthfeel. Carbonation is certainly on the high end, leaving the feeling on the tongue reminiscent of a soda. Smooth, and yet still quite drinkable!
Overall Impression: Lighter than expected, and made to have a typical spritzy beer texture and not creamy and soft like a lot of the barrel aged/cask beers you get from smaller brewery's/brewpub's. And it was also filtered, stripping it of it's "cask" character. Still different, and worth trying.

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