I have to say that it seems the Barrel Tasting event gets better and better. By far, this is the annual Deschutes event that I most look forward to each year. The sun was out, the temp was cool, and there were beers-a-plenty. The food they chose paired incredibly well (good Lord … that lamb from grill outside was delicious, and went very well with the Green Lakes).
So here’s what they poured.
The Abyss [ABV 11%, IBU 68]
Imperial stout aged in a combination of pinot, Oregon oak and bourbon barrels, brewed with blackstrap molasses, brewers licorice – then dry hopped with cherry bark and vanilla beans.
Drink this beer whenever a glass of it is in front of you. If you say, “I don’t like dark beer”, you should get slapped … hard … immediately. Don’t be that guy. Drink it I say, and be set free!
Anniversary Gold [ABV 8.7%, IBU 60]
Belgian-style ale brewed with coriander and bitter orange peel. The bulk of character is provided by traditional Belgian yeast and Oregon oak aging.
I really enjoyed this beer although it was a bit sweet. I would have preferred a bit of a drier, spicier finish, but it was a favorite among many in the room.
Black Butte XX Imperial Porter [ABV 10.3%, IBU 68]
Our original flagship beer brewed two times over. This beer has all the Black Butte Porter characteristics but some new flavor nuances in the form of coffee and chocolate intermingled with the standard, then conditioned in bourbon barrels.
The balance is insane, and was a father’s-day gut-punch for my father-in-law who may or may not have enjoyed four too many on top of the other beers that night. I absolutely love this beer, but it is definitely on the sweeter side … to be expected given the style and ABV.
Mr. Big Ed Brown [ABV 5.2%, IBU 55]
Bourbon barrel aged and characterized by chocolate malt for a roasted flavor and northwest cascade hops for a citrus finish. Wheat and flaked barley contribute to its smooth body.
This was one of my personal favorites. The flavors were all subtle, but it was one of the most-balanced lighter-grav beers being poured. A great, nutty, valvety, chocoloate malt flavor throughout. I really enjoyed this one.
Cabernet Green Lakes Ale [ABV 5.2%, IBU 45]
Made with 3 types of organic malt barley and balanced with Amarillo, Cascade, Brewers Gold, Centinnial, and Sterling hops then aged for 6 weeks in French oak cabernet casks and dry hopped with 1 lb. of Liberty hops per barrel.
Didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did. I would say that it was a big crowd pleaser with the hop enthusiasts in our group. No surprise given the hop salad in the description. Very very easy to drink.
Super Jubel [ABV 11%, IBU 100]
This is a super-duper Jubel Ale. Fermented on our house yeast and rose hips aged in cabernet and syrah barrels then transferred into bourbon barrels to add complexity to this very interesting barley wine.
What needs to be said here … reminiscient of the Mirror Mirror, with a nice, just-noticible tartness from the rose hips. Really really enjoyed this beer.
French Oak Twilight [ABV 5%, IBU 35]
Aged for 4 weeks in cabernet barrels, this beer has a unique blend of four hops and malts. This liuvely straw colored ale has a vigorous hop essence with a malt body that compiliments the flavor of this special seasonal brew.
I’m generally not a fan of Twilight … just not my beer. However, I enjoyed this version as it seemed to have a bit more of a hop bitterness bite to it.
Oud Bruin [ABV 7.7%, IBU 30]
The beginning stages of our soon to be released reserve beer, The Dissident. This beer is a traditional sour brown fermented with two types of wild yeast strains and freshly picked cherries for a second fermentation. A small portion of this beer was then aged in pinot noir barrels.
Biggest disappointment. Not that there was anything wrong with the beer, but it was served still. I don’t know if this was an error or intentional, but it didn’t allow the beer to show what it might be. Carbonation is such an important part of a beer as it helps carry aroma, which influences flavor. It might be there to showcase the mother beer used to create The Dissident. Now I’ve had an early component of this beer in the pub, and I have to say … buy it when it’s here, because it’s going to be gone … very quickly. Wish that it would have been more of what I had in the pub. Still, I can see where it might be headed, and the destination is glorious.
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