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Lost Abbey Brouwers Imagination Ale 2009

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RATINGS: 109   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.93   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 285   ABV: 9.5%
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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 Angel’s Share, port barrels of Serpent’s Stout and red wine barrels of Gift of the Magi with brett. There were others, but as with all blends, it’s best to leave some things to the imagination (or the taste buds for that matter).

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
brokensail (11998) - Orange County, 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 wasn’t 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: I’m 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 I’m 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 (9327) - 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 (3810) - 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 doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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 (3474) - 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 (6299) - 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 didn’t 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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Thorpe429 (5016) - , Illinois, USA - APR 13, 2011
Reviewed from notes. Thanks to bmanning for opening this bottle. Pours dark brown with a bit of a crimson hue. The head is slight but leaves a decent amount of lacing. Nose brings forward some cherries and dark fruit along with strong lactic and acetic sourness and a bit of a woody note. Slight funk. The taste is sour fruits for sure with a bit of dark fruits and slight roast. Great feel with a nice sour to tart balance. Drinks very well and is a strong dark sour--I love this substyle. Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 11-03-2010

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Hophead22 (2879) - Redlands, by way of Wisconsin,, California, USA - APR 2, 2011
750ml bottle. Rating #82. Dark brown with a touch of red and tan head. Soft fruity notes, cherry comes to mind. Tart and light sourness. More cherries, pretty damn good. (1554)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
JoeTheYounger (1155) - Lake Arrowhead, California, USA - APR 2, 2011
Dark brown pour fizzy head. Interesting sour nutty aroma. Sour herbal taste. Pretty good

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
boFNjackson (4184) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAR 26, 2011
Bottle... Big gusher that poured reddish/brown with a khaki head. Sticky sweetness on the palate with a sourness and tanginess that mixed with some more candied tones and light fruit. Some oak and woodiness with a wine-like quality. Sweet all the way through..

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
anders37 (18159) - Malmö, SWEDEN - MAR 22, 2011
Bottle @ Papsø. Pours a dark brownish color with a small off-white head. Has a fruity sour tart malty spicy aroma. Fruity sour tart spicy flavor with some yeasty hints. Has a fruity malty sour tart brett finish.

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