Commentist Beer Barrel: Nora Brought Out The Brandy

make it snow
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make it snow

make it snow is an alot of beer. He is also a Broncos fan living in Austin.
make it snow
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To me, the best consequence of the saturation of the craft beer market over the last seven or so years with beers aged in whiskey barrels has been the saturation of the craft beer market with beers aged in whiskey barrels. Whiskey barrels—specifically American bourbon barrels—are, in my opinion, the best wooden vessels by a wide margin to age beer in after fermentation. Bourbon just seems best fitted of all the liquors to complement beer, for reasons I thought about taking a stab at explaining, only to find myself at a total loss to do so. I just know that it works, and has ever since Goose Island Brewing Company first put an imperial stout in a handful of Jim Beam barrels in 1992.

The second-best consequence of bourbon-barrel beer proliferation, though, is that the more creative brewers out there have moved on to other sorts of casks to enhance their beers. I know, I know: I just said that bourbon barrels are the best barrels for beer. But they’re not the best barrels for every beer, including some of my very favorites. Victory couldn’t have made White Monkey without white wine barrels, and Avery couldn’t have made Black Tot without rum barrels, and trust me: Those beers are fucking amazing. These sorts of barrels are less inherently beer-friendly, though. A red wine barrel can easily make a stout or barleywine overly astringent; the rare gin barrel can make a saison overly botanical or just plain bitter, and honestly, tequila barrels almost always make a beer taste dirty to me. But I will always try these kinds of beers, because to me they represent experimentation, and not the rote sort of paint-by-numbers, fail-till-it-works brand of experimentation that I see so often in the endless march of single-hop IPAs. And when the beer in question is a brandy-barrel aged Belgian-style quadrupel from Lakewood Brewing in Garland, TX, I will try it faster than you can say, “We have a new beer from Lakewood.”

I don’t know very much about brandy. I think I’ve drunk straight brandy once in my life, on a plane, and it knocked me the hell out. I understand it’s made from fermented  fruit, and frequently (but not always) from wine. I do know about Lakewood Brewing Company, which is or soon will be celebrating its fourth anniversary, and has released, to mark the occasion, Lion’s Share IV, a Belgian-style quad aged in brandy barrels. Lakewood brews one of the best stouts in all of Texas, a delectable imperial vanilla milk stout dubbed The Temptress, and doesn’t stop there: Lakewood makes French Quarter Temptress with chicory and—get this—coffee beans aged in bourbon barrels; Mole Temptress, with chile peppers, cacao, and cinnamon; the self-explanatory Raspberry Temptress; and, to what I’m sure will be the respective joy and chagrin of the good and evil factions of DFO’s ancient cookie war, Sin Mint Temptress, with mint and graham cracker. I won’t belabor the point further; Lakewood’s good as hell. Let’s get into the beer.

If there are points to be handed out for presentation, Lakewood gets them. Lion’s Share IV comes packaged in a fancy-ass cardboard box, with a slick minimalist label on the bottle itself. There’s a delightful quotation on one side of the box, attributed to one of Aesop’s fables, that I just have to reprint in full:

“I take the first portion because of my title, since I am addressed as king;
The second portion you will assign to me, since I’m your partner;
Then because I am the stronger, the third will follow me;
And an accident will happen to anyone who touches the fourth.”

The beer itself is a murky amber brown with a dense head. It’s a rich, dessert-like ale, with lots of caramel and hints of cinnamon, apple, just the barest trace of cherry, and… maybe dates? I may just be imagining that I know what dates taste like, or really even have ever eaten a date in my entire life. But maybe it tastes like dates! This isn’t the richness of a bourbon-barrel beer, though; it doesn’t have that overwhelming chocolate-vanilla-toasty profile. (There’s vanilla there, of course, as there really ought to be in any beer aged on wood, but it’s relatively subtle.) Again, I love that profile, I think it’s basically the best, but it’s not here and I also think that’s great! This is more along the lines of your fruit-based desserts, your apple or cherry pie, than your tiramisu or crème brûlée. It’s a stellar melding of a base beer known for dark, fruity richness and a liquor with many of the same characteristics, and it passes, with flying colors, my most important test for a barrel-aged beer: I can’t tell where the beer flavors start and the barrel flavors begin, or even whether they show up in that order.

lady snow says: It tastes like a dessert beer. It’s got that sweetness that I associate with Belgian styles. Brandy of course is already an apéritif, or post-prandial tipple, if you will. But this also tastes really strongly to me of toffee. Like, I get a ton of toffee. It reminds me of a Heath bar. We may have to go get some toffee.

make it snow says: Are you driving?

lady snow says: Why, how much have you had to drink?

make it snow says: [gestures in the direction of the other 18oz of Lion’s Share IV]

lady snow says: I feel an Amazon Prime order coming on. Anyway, as I’m sure you know, some wines are categorized as dessert wines.

make it snow says: Sure.

lady snow says: This should be considered a dessert beer. It should be served in restaurants with dessert. Or at home! Or at elegant dinner parties!

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lady snow says: [reading the beer description on the box] Boom! Toffee!

make it snow says: I picked up like two of the flavors from that list, vanilla and a bit of cherry. And I said dates, which is pretty close to figs and raisins.

lady snow says: Oh, definitely.

make it snow says: I’m not actually sure I know what toffee tastes like either. The thing you’re talking about registered as caramel for me, I think.

lady snow says: Well, now we absolutely have to make an Amazon Prime order.

tl;dr: Don’t wait for dessert to drink your dessert beers. Start at three in the afternoon like we did.

Grade: Five caramels or five toffees out of five.

make it snow is an alot of beer and football fan. It’s called football, right? It’s been so long. He wrote this review while drinking most of a bomber of Lakewood Lion’s Share IV; lady snow drank the other four ounces. Later tonight, he might talk about Everybody Wants Some!!, Richard Linklater’s new film, in the comments.

make it snow
make it snow
make it snow is an alot of beer. He is also a Broncos fan living in Austin.

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Cuntler
Member

Also, I love the barrel aged Yeti. Man, if access to this was easy, I would go in so hard on the alcoholism.

http://greatdivide.com/barrel-aged-yeti-imperial-stout/

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Member
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

That is some good shit.

You should try this place if you get a chance:

http://resolutebrewingco.com/

sunrisesunrise
Member

A friend brought me a pair of Chuck Alek Small Batch. I had the pleasure to have a quadrupel that was aged in Sangiovese barrels and a Barleywine that was aged in bourbon barrels. The quad was decent but the Sangiovese flavors stood out a bit too much for my liking. The Barleywine was magnificent. I wish I had more.

http://www.chuckalek.com/bottle-club/

My wife and I also checked out Finest Made Ales (formerly Butcher’s Brewing) grand opening. Their Amber is very good. Session and Rye IPAs are just ok. They also made a Bourbon Barrel aged cherry and orange Scottish Ale. I expected more tart but it didn’t happen. It was good though.

Spanky Datass
Member
Spanky Datass

I have professed my love for barrel aged beer here before and I have the 2015 Lakewood Bourbon Barrel Temptress (Sexy box!) that I will enjoy on opening night.

Unsurprised
Member
Unsurprised

“[Atlanta] is the new Singapore.” This show is fucking hilarious.

Unsurprised
Member
Unsurprised

The Dublin episode of The Layover is on and Bourdain’s masturbatory description of Guinness is nauseating. It’s just Guinness. It’s not that good.

ballsofsteelandfury
Member

Yes it is.

BrettFavresColonoscopy
Member

On the tequila barrel front, Sanitas out in Boulder makes a sour aged in tequila barrels that I thought was fantastic.

BrettFavresColonoscopy
Member

Way to make me thirsty first thing in the morning.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Member
Unsurprised
Member
Unsurprised
King Hippo
Member

My mom always LOVED Heath bars, I should get this when/if I host Thanksgiving.

Old School Zero
Member

Listen, I’m sick and tired of this “awesome beer from Texas” thing because I’m not ending up in Texas any time soon. So if I somehow win the GSR league this year, YOU’RE sending me some of this good Texas beer.

But, don’t worry, that’s not a high likelihood.

ballsofsteelandfury
Member

New League Rule: Last place team sends a mixed six-pack of the best beer from their state to the League Champ. Yes?

Cuntler
Member

Wait, Horatio is in our league. Who the fuck wants beer from Connecticut? It’s definitely gonna have nutmeg in it.

sunrisesunrise
Member

How does one choose the best beer in California? I couldn’t narrow down the best in San Diego as it is.

Cuntler
Member

Wait, wait, wait. I don’t know if it’s legal to send Coors Banquet across state lines. I may have to hire a guy…

http://s3.amazonaws.com/auteurs_production/images/film/smokey-and-the-bandit-ii/w448/smokey-and-the-bandit-ii.jpg

Old School Zero
Member

I support this.

ballsofsteelandfury
Member

Also, Everybody Wants Some demands its own post. I saw it in Dallas on my trip and thoroughly enjoyed it.

ballsofsteelandfury
Member

Lakewood brews one of the best stouts in all of Texas

You misspelled “the world”. That is one amazing beer. Again, thanks for the recommendations for my trip to Dallas!

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