Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Vintage Beer Tasting

In October of 2018, Owen Ogletree gathered The Beer Wench, Dean and Gail Graves, Ian Meents, Ashton Smith, Flavia Costa and Andrew Borchert to taste and comment on ten strong craft beers that were aged for several years. The tasting was done in blind fashion, with the group only knowing the style and age of each beer.

The tasting concluded with the group choosing the top four beers that seemed to stand up the best to aging. Look below for winners and tasting notes...

Photo by Ashton Smith

FIRST PLACE: 2011 Phantom Canyon Winston Smith's Barleywine-Style Ale aged in whiskey barrels.
Comments: deep brown color; light wood, vanilla aroma; dark fruit sweetness; bitter fruity flavors; lightly burnt toffee; moderately dry; nice hop bitterness; warming; whiskey and caramel are both subtle. 

SECOND PLACE: 2011 Southern Tier Oat Imperial Oatmeal Stout.
Comments: beautiful black color; chocolate; sherry; prunes; dates; espresso; roasty; toasted caramel; burnt sugars; maple hint; dark fruits; mineraly; lingering cocoa/roasted malt notes; tastes great; bittersweet finish; could be a bit thin for style, but nice. 

THIRD PLACE: 2011 Widmer Brothers' Reserve Galaxy Hopped American Barleywine.
Comments: nice brown color; light, old hop note; woody; earthy hops; dry finish; light toffee and caramel; herbal hoppy hint; light butterscotch note; caramel hard candy; pleasing bitterness. 

HONORABLE MENTION: 2013 Olde Hickory Irish Walker Barleywine. 
Comments: deep, dark brown in color, almost black; too dark for style; toffee; hint of coffee; lightly bitter; chocolate hint; burnt toast crust; bitter finish; burnt cocoa nibs; smooth and creamy.

2012 Samichlaus Bier Helles - Blonde Doppelbock.
Comments: dark amber in color; plums; prunes; creme brulee with plums; candied apricots; sweet toffee; butter hint; rich, earthy honey; pleasant; rum hints; cognac note; sweet, malty finish. 

2010 Terrapin Iron Tankard Old Ale.
Comments: dark amber in color; prune; figs; sherry; sweet; raisin; light chocolate; caramel; toffee candy; mild alcohol; dry finish; malt driven; milk chocolate; held up well. 

2013 Smuttynose Gravitation Belgian Quad.
Comments: dark amber hue; paper note; earthy; light fruit; light malt; sherry nose; mild kumquat; nice fruity esters; caramel; figs; oxidized note; lemon; some sweetness. 

2009 Great Divide Old Ruffian Barleywine Whiskey Barrel Aged.
Comments: dark brown; clove hint; toasted bread; somewhat thin mouthfeel for style; oak tannin note; winey; toasty; wet cardboard hint; dull flavors; did not hold up well over time; herbal; dark fruit; dry and slightly astringent in the finish.

2008 Weyerbacher XIII Imperial Stout with Belgian Yeast.
Comments: black in color; Belgian esters come through; nice complexity; spicy; raisins; warming alcohol; caramelized sugars; dark chocolate finish; medium/full body; clove hint; loaded with dark fruit notes; earthy hint; coffee nuance.

2011 Victory Dark Intrigue Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout.
Comments: black color; paper-like; alcohol character is big; minty; clove; lots of bourbon barrel; not too complex for style; wood tannins; menthol-like warmth; roasty; dark, bitter chocolate finish; dry and bitter; might be a bit thin for style; light fruit complexity in the background. 

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