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Lost Abbey Brouwers Imagination Ale 2009

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RATINGS: 114   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.95/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 285   ABV: 9.5%
34% ale brewed with honey, raisins and rosemary and aged in bourbon barrels 33% ale aged in bourbon barrels 33% ale with raisins and aged in wine barrels
In July of 2009, the Matts and a couple of the guys flew down from Seattle to tour our hallowed halls in San Marcos, CA. In our barrel room they were drawn to brandy barrels of Angelís Share, port barrels of Serpentís Stout and red wine barrels of Gift of the Magi with brett. There were others, but as with all blends, itís best to leave some things to the imagination (or the taste buds for that matter).

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
wedgie9 (2639) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - APR 27, 2012
Tasted from 750mL bottle at Lush CBC event courtesy of Dr. Bill. Pours cloudy gold with a thin white head. Nose of malt, lemon peel, soda sweetness, and biscuit. Flavor is more sour and bitter than expected with coconut, toasted malt, and lemon bitterness. Carbonation is lively with a medium plus body. This is an extremely unique and different beer that is very interesting. Thank you Dr. Bill!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Glouglouburp (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 6, 2011
In short: A highly complex sour dark ale that remains very drinkable. Wow!
How: Bottle 750ml. Consumed almost 1.5 year after first bottle rating. Bottle sent to me by 5000, thanks a lot Andre
The look: Very dark ruby body (almost black) topped by a medium beige head with low retention
In long: Crazy complex nose that I would describe as a funky bourbonny Flemish Sour with dark fruits (plums mainly) and an explosion of tannins. Now, thatís a complex aroma. Taste is more of the same but letís be a bit more descriptive. Sour cherries dipped in toffee, oak tannins, dark cherry skins, bourbon barrels, grapefruity funk, dried pruned, light notes of chocolate, light notes of hot spices, medium-high acidity level, more.... There is a often a fine line between a complex beer and a beer that is just all over the place. This one is clearly on the complex side. Very satisfying and tasty but not too intense, this is not a sipper, I could drink bottles after bottles of this wonderful beer. Drinking this bottle was a pure delight, Iím so glad I was able to get score a bottle of this superb beer because people trading this beer are as rare as people who get out the shower to pee. And donít tell me you do, I know you donít.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
peteinSD (1462) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 29, 2011
Bottle shared by Dave - thanks! Slight gusher. Murky rust red pour with a thin tan head. Aroma is light bourbon, sweet cherry tart, balsamic sour, and light lemon. Taste is sharp and distinct sour with cherry, tart, a hard to pin down red wine aspect, and a bit of light vinegar sharpness. Precise feel in the mouth. Excellent.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
nightrider (754) - encinitas, California, USA - NOV 26, 2011
Tasted from the bottle sitting at the bar on Black Friday at Brouwers in Seattle. Dark murky brown red with some thin off white head. Aromas were complex with cherry, bourbon, and cocoa. Medium mouthfeel. Flavors were varied and again complex with oak, bourbon, plum, and vanilla. Balanced tartness that doesnít over power you. Long tasty finish. Liked this beer alot.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
callmemickey (4285) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 2, 2011
UPDATED: JUN 9, 2012 A: Huge loud pop when the cork was pulled. Beer started to creep towards the top of the bottle, but we were ready for that. Deep black body. Large bubbly khaki cap. Good retention and creamy lacing left behind. S: Tons of aroma here. Port, dark fruits, brandy, tobacco, oak, earthy funk (like a saison), and cola. Despite these big flavors, its not particularly stout like... its light and vibrant. T: Despite the great nose, the components do not come together as seamlessly in the flavor department. Complex, yes. A bit muddled, yes. At times I though the beer was fighting with itself a little bit. In the end the complexity carries the day and its hard to knock such an ambitious beer that is tasty. M: Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Almost cola like in feel from start finish. Light sourness. Nice clean finish. O: A really solid brew. Its quite a unique offering and was pleased with the results. The blend and carbonation could be tweaked a bit more to improve the finished product.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
brokensail (16057) - Dublin, California, USA - AUG 19, 2011
A: The pour is a very dark brown color with some nice red highlights and a fluffy off-white head. S: The nose is quite complex and I wasnít initially sure what to make of this beer. I pick up notes of raisins, cola, cherries, chocolate, and malt. In addition, there are some nice brett and oak aromas, but not overly tart. T: The taste is equally interested. There are the same sweet malt and dark fruit characteristics that are present in the nose, but with a more noticeable tartness. Some sour cherries, brett funk and dryness, oak, bourbon, and alcohol. M: A very full body with a lively carbonation that makes the beer feel even fuller on the tongue. D: Iím not sure exactly what the alcohol content is on this, but it certainly lives up to the "strong" part of the name. That said, the beer is still delicious and Iím glad I have one via trade to sit on for awhile.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
hopdog (11653) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 21, 2011
750ml bottle. Poured a dark and cloudy amber, almost brown, color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of fruitiness, dark fruits, wood, and vanilla. Tastes of dark fruits, wood, lighter vinous quality, and vanilla.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
FlacoAlto (4152) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUN 9, 2011
The beer is a slight gusher after I pop the cork from the top of the bottle, and when I pour it into my Lost Abbey Teku glass I end up with 5 fingers of amber tinged, dark tan foam that quickly flows over the tops of my glass and makes quite a mess. The beer is a dark, almost burnt amber color that shows hazed, dark plum hue when held up to the light. As the head slowly subsides it leaves some nicely layered lacing on the sides of my glass. The aroma as I pour this beer smells of dark plums, some savory maltt character and more tart fruit. An actual inspection of the nose yields aromas that are definitely quite tart and seems to be a mix of lactic and acetic acid notes. The acidity really boosts aromas of tart cherries, sour dried figs, fermented prunes and even something a bit like teriyaki sauce. This is backed by a spicy (pepper, raw oak and a touch of Bourbon spice), earthy, toasted woody, oak character a definite sawdust character and even some buttery oak notes that start to come out after a while.

Tart tasting with a fruit focus as it first hits my palate, it then picks up a bit more bracing sourness that gets a bit savory in character and then the beer finishes with a spicy, woody, tannic, slightly astringent oak character. The beer doesnít have a whole lot of sweetness to it, though having just ate dinner the dryness could be from the state of my palate. The savory character in this beer seems to be added by an almost smokiness in the finish that seems to be contributed by a roasted malt character in the finish. The roast is actually fairly restrained in some ways, but contributes profoundly to the finish of this beer without intruding and becoming overly burnt. The body of this beer is actually fairly light, it has some heft to it, much of which seems to be oak / tannin derived.

I went back for a second pour and the bottle had blown the wine stopper I put in out and formed a bit of a mess on the counter (luckily only a little beer was lost); I only have to eat a little foam to keep the beer from overflowing the glass this time around. The beer is definitely pretty spritzy with an ample carbonation, though it doesnít seem excessively foamy as it flows across the tongue. The tartness and the fruit remind me a lot of tamarind up front, and sour plums throughout. Most of the sourness here seems to be lactic in character, though there is a touch of it here that adds a spiciness and piquancy to the finish. A fair amount of the tartness actually comes from how dry this beer is and the fact that there is a mellow, roasted malt character to this beer. Lots of cherry flavors come out as the beer warms up and the roast character seems to mask some funky, earthy, wild yeast character (all of which could be derived from Brettanomcyes).

This is really quite a palatable beer; it has a nice mix of tart, savory and fruit character that just makes it seem like a meal in a glass without being chewy and heavy (which is how beers usually get described as such). Despite the description there is really not much in the way of Bourbon character to this beer, there are suggestions of it, but it doesnít seem more than what one gets from non-Bourbon barrels (Bourbon is highly influenced by oak). This is quite enjoyable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
MrChopin (4303) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - MAY 30, 2011
bottle foams violently once open, but no explosion despite cork first rising in cage. Dark opaque ruby, thin pinkish head. Nose is vanilla and raisin, light almond and cherry. Flavor similar, very dark fruit and raisin, lightly peppery yeast. Nicer than Veritas 003, more yeast and Belgian accents present, less caramel malt.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
5000 (6862) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - MAY 1, 2011
Bottle sampled March 2010:   Muddy brown, huge frothy off-white head, nice lacing.   Bits of sediment in the glass.   Bottle sploded a bit.   Fairly strong barrel/wood character.   A little vineous/vinegary on the nose as well.   Extremely woody and tart on the tongue.   On the border of being sour.   Some raisin aspect as well.   Body and mouthfeel are bubbley up front, smooth on the backside.   Fairly dry on the backside, lingering woodiness.   Not bad, but for some reason I didnít expect it being that tart.   Anywho, a little ordinary but well made.

I tried this one again in March 2011 and found it much more sour, dry, and tart.   The vinegar aspect had toned down quite a bit.   This one is developing into a really nice Sour Ale.

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