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Free State Old Stormy (Bourbon Barrel)

Free State Old Stormy (Bourbon Barrel)
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Serve in Shaker, Tulip


on tap


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RATINGS: 5   MEAN: 3.64/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.15/5   ABV: -
A distinctive quality of Old Ales is that they undergo an aging process (often for years) on their yeast, contributing to a rich and often sweet oxidation character. Back in August of 2009 we aged a batch of Stormwatch Ale without it’s usual dry-hop addition and without carbonation. We then transferred the beer to various oak barrels, some originally used for wine, some for bourbon. Rather than blend the barrel-aged beer back together, we’ve chosen to keep each keg of old ale separate and allow the full expression of each individual barrel to shine through. The resulting beer is unique and complex, with notes of caramel, cherries, plums, coffee, vanilla, bourbon, and wine. Medium bodied and deep mahogany in color, Old Stormy has matured into a beer that only hints at its previous incarnation, Stormwatch; with decidedly less hop character and a greater emphasis on sweet, malty flavors. Old Stormy is a great ale to weather the winter storm season. Served at cellar temperature on the back bar. Bottom Line: A slightly sweet, malty, medium bodied, deep mahogany ale aged for no less than three months on a variety of barrels. O.G. - 15/1.060. Hops - 46 IBUs

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
BlackForestCO (978) - Aurora, Colorado, USA - MAY 2, 2010
Growler. Poured a deep mahogany brown color with chestnut highlights and a thin, dense off-white head that faded to a tight ring. Sweet, malty aroma with some brown sugar, cola, leather, plum, and a bit of subtle spice. Smooth, lightly spicy entry with some soft hints of tobacco that leads into a light brown sugar sweetness offset by some earthy, leather-like bitterness with faint hints of chocolate and plum peaking through. It eventually finishes lightly dry with a light smokiness and a light cola sweetness. Light, fine carbonation creates a delicate feel on the palate. Leathery dryness offsets the sweetness well. Overall, it was certainly a big departure from the base beer, but I thought it was quite a bit more enjoyable. The flavors were delicate and subtle, not the abrasive barrel character present in many aged beers.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Gregis (1281) - Stilwell, Kansas, USA - JAN 23, 2010
Shaker pint off cask (at the brewpub). Pours a deep brown with thin swirling skin of beige bubbles. On the nose are notes or bourbon, oak, dark cherry, a little smoke, and earthy slightly resinous hops. The palate is silky soft (to be expected off cask), medium-bodied, somewhat woody and a bit boozy. The flavor profile follows the nose, with the bourbon barrel notes dominating. It’s interesting to think that the base beer here is an IPA, but the base beer is better than results of this barrel experiment. This is a decent beer, but it doesn’t really do a lot for me, personally.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
beastiefan2k (3590) - HdG (past: NYC, KS, Rain City), Maryland, USA - JAN 11, 2010
Shaker from cask @ the brewpub. Pours with a beautiful thick head that sticks around. The body is a dark brown color. The beer has been dramatically affected by the barrel aging. It has taken on a very fruity barrel aspect that has come to dominate the beer. It is also thinned out a bit because of this. I can still pick up some old hops in there. Its cool to drink but I would just call this a fruity barrel beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
bvc (1241) - Washington, USA - DEC 12, 2009
Growler courtesy of mreusch, thanks again! Has a deep walnut cola brown with a gray tint to it and a little head; looks pretty still. Fairly sweet in the nose...brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, raisin, prune. Also some earthy oxidation notes; I’m getting sweet pipe tobacco and hints of old wet leather. Not as sweet up front as the nose leads me to prepare for, but it is there. A bit of a tobacco tootsie roll flavor up front then smooths into a lightly burnt caramel taste with the hops peeking through in the end to lend a earthy light bitterness that has a touch of grass with a little more tobacco again. Really dark wheat bread flavor is present throughout as well, but really serves as more of a mild foundation component. The carbonation is also stronger than the apperance suggests. Really an interesting IPA, but given the nose and flavor (minus the little bit of hops on the end) I probably wouldn’t have guessed it was an IPA had I not known. Thanks again Matt!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
SuzyGreenberg (1603) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 12, 2009
Growler - thanks bvc; pours dense ruby brown with trace white head; kind of flat from the growler; nose has some definite candy with dark fruits and an oaky sweetness; drinks soft, smooth and mildly bitter; as it warms i get a little peat and plums; some candy sweetness too; dark fruits, cookies, caramel, wine and oak; almost light a thin barleywine at this point; pretty interesting stuff

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