Flyer (118) - Hartland, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 1, 2007
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
This has an amazing one-two-three punch. Itís not really complex, in the sense that complex beers have flavor notes that dance around each other -- but it has big, big notes of wood, bourbon, and chocolate. It had the heaviest wood aroma Iíve ever experienced (thatís a good thing) although it didnít necessarily seem like oak -- not sure if the barrels were some other wood, or if the intensity of it fooled me. The bourbon was equally compelling, and the same one-two punch dominated the flavor, along with nice chocolate overtones. In theory, Iíd say this could use more subtlety, but the truth was that I thoroughly enjoyed this beer.
GeneralGao (3614) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - JUL 5, 2007
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft at the brewpub. Poured an opaque black color. Head was tan with good retention and lacing. Aroma was of whiskey, chocolate, and vanilla. Flavor was similar with mild roasty malt. Slightly sweet on the tongue. Very smooth mouth feel and full bodied. Iím a sucker for barrel aged beers and this was was well done.
Brigadier (3550) - Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA - JUN 29, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at brewpub
Compared to Blake, I did not find this quite as impressive. It is an interesting experiment to be sure as it is not every day you barrel age an export stout. Still, the net result is too much bourbon and too little stout in the end. Thankfully it comes in a six ounce snifter so that you donít have to attempt to drink a full pint. I would recommend trying it but if you are expecting something out of this world be prepared for some letdown.
Aroma / Appearance - A huge one and a half finger tan head sat for ten minutes until the glass began to warm. As it did the head slowly receded to a half height. The body was dark but only borderline black. The bourbon base is obvious from the start in the form of vanilla and oak but it is complimented nicely by hazel and coffee. Pecans and cocoa complete the spread which is worth spending some time admiring.
Flavor / Palate - Much like the non-barrel aged version the mouthfeel is disappointingly thin. However, once you get past that this becomes a very enjoyable beer. Vanilla, cocoa and expresso tweak the senses before the hazel and brown sugar hit the back of the throat. As it warms the bourbon becomes more and more obvious until it is all that can be detected. Donít let this one get too far above 50F or youíll be overwhelmed by the alcohol. If I were rating this on the first half it would be a 4.0; on the second half it loses some points. The net result is still a solid 3.6.
1FastSTi (3360) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 21, 2007
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours to a blacker body than the base beer with a nice tan head. Nice lacing. The aroma is HEAVY on sweet bourbon and lactose sugars. Chocolate malt and coffee. The flavor is lactose sugar, chocolate malt, rhubarb, dry roasty black patent, bourbon, and vanilla. I love how the bourbon works in a foreign stout styled beer. (A first for me). The palate is smooth, lightly alcoholic but not fusel. Delicious!!!