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Nebraska Inception Series #01 - Toasted Barn



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RATINGS: 12   MEAN: 3.58/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.28/5   SEASONAL: Series   IBU: 33   EST. CALORIES: 204   ABV: 6.8%
The first beer in this series, Toasted Barn, is a Smoked Porter aged in Stranahan’s Whiskey barrels. When originally brewed, Toasted Barn had a robust smoky character through the addition of 35% Smoked Briess Malt. It seemed a fitting combination at the time to send this beer through extended aging within the Whiskey barrel program used for other beers such as Black Betty RIS, and Fathead Barleywine. The resultant beer is one with a mellowed smokiness, vanilla aromatics, and oak tannins which elevate the finish into a very remarkable beer.

FlacoAlto's rating

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
FlacoAlto (4133) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUN 9, 2013
A steady, straight pour into my teku glass produces a three finger thick, nicely brown / amber tinged head that leaves some light lacing on the sides of my glass. The beer is a concentrated brown color that leans towards a rich black hue that is quite opaque when held up to the light. The aroma smells of vanillin and toasted coconut up front, but then takes on a sort of phenolic like edge to it that is certainly smoky, and perhaps a little plastic like towards the finish of the nose. There is definitely a charred smokiness to the beer, this seems to accentuate some harsher notes in the barrel treatment, and as the beer sits this seems to get a bit harsher and more plastic like.

Lighter bodied for a barrel aged brew, but it still has some body and heft considering it is 5.6% ABV; this has a prickly carbonation which lightens things up a bit, but can seem a touch on the foamy side at the beginning. The finish has a linger alcohol warming mixed with phenolic plastic notes, and a sharp phenolic smokiness. Up front the smokiness is rich and savory and couples with a full, dark malt character pretty well. There is a light sweetness here that seems brought out by a toasted coconut and vanillin character that adds a nice roundness to the middle before that finish takes over. The roasted malt plays a nice supporting role here; it brings out a dark chocolate character, touches of full city roasted coffee, a toasted / roasted nutty note, and a rounded brown maltiness. The barrel character is actually fairly well integrated, except for the heat in the finish; accentuating toasted oak flavors, a bit of barrel spice, some Whiskey fruitiness, and the aforementioned vanillin and toasted coconut character.

This definitely has some potential, I am not sure if the beer is too small to stand up to the length of aging in Whiskey barrels, or if it is just the crappy Briess smoked malt; it is likely the latter, as I have never had a good beer using that malt. This is decent though, and even a bit enjoyable if you try and forget the finish, the problem is that the finish lingers on the palate and ruins the final touch of each sip.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
DenverLogan (1030) - MileHi, Colorado, USA - AUG 15, 2013
From a 22 oz bottle into my Great Lakes Brewing tulip glass. Pours near black with large brown head and lace. Aroma of bourbon, liquid smoke, chocolate and vanilla. Significant carbonation and mouthfeel. Flavors of bourbon, liquid smoke, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, dark chocolate, slight molasses, tobacco, minerals and chalk. I’ve actually had half a dozen bottles of this over the past year. At 5.6% it’s pretty fiesty now and a year ago. I’d be most inclined to call it a smoked porter aged on Stranahans, and as such is bold, full bodied, smokey but not as much as a fresh Schlenkerla or Alaskan Smoked Porter. I wouldn’t drink this every day but I do find it tasty and unique.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Ratman197 (12938) - Arvada, Colorado, USA - MAR 21, 2013
Bomber poured a clear dark reddish brown with a small lingering tan head. Aromas of whiskey, smoke, roasted malt, bakers cocoa, light vanilla and a hint of oak. Palate was medium bodied and smooth with a dry finish. Flavors of smoke, roasted malt, bakers cocoa and a hint of whiskey with a smooth dry lingering smokey finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
alexsdad06 (8690) - Ohio, USA - DEC 29, 2012
750 ml bottle shared by foppa78 (thanks Mat) at DLD. Pours a hazy chocolate brown with a medium sized tan head. The aroma is smoked malts, ash, coffee, whiskey notes(the Stranahans has something different about it), vanilla and earth. The flavor is smoked malts moving toward ashy/campfire notes, roasted malts, coffee, whiskey barrel, vanilla, some residual sweetness. This was dry, but a touch thin.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
phaleslu (9249) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - APR 30, 2012
750 ml bottle shared by foppa78- thanks again, Mat! As with the Microbe Rue, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see it but Mat comes through in a major way. I owe you, buddy. Pours an opaque coffee brown with a small tan head. Notes of smoky malts, coffee, dark chocolate, ashy woody notes, toasted sugar, vanilla, and some whiskey heat throughout. Medium-bodied, with a smoky mouthfeel and low carbonation. Was definitely thinned but otherwise a solid, surprisingly complex smoked beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
TheAlum (6860) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - APR 29, 2012
Bottle shared at Dark Lord Day 2012 (Munster, IN). Pours a rich blackish hue, dark and opaque with some brownish edges. A frothy tannish head that stays a frothy layer, laces ok. Aromas are gentle smoke, wood, and toasty malts. Chocolate, gentle coffee, earthy malts. Some toasty marshmellow, smokey malts, char and wood, woodchips. Gentle vanilla, whiskey, and oaky elements. Initial is quite smokey, elements of roast, marshmellow, vanilla, and spirit. Toasty elements, char, touch of mesquite. Spirit, vanilla, marshmellow, some cocoa and good coffee. Smokey meat, cherrywood grows into back end finish, lingering dryness, barrel tannins, oak, and char. Pretty enjoyable. A touch thin.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
beastiefan2k (3371) - Emerald City (formely NYC & KS), Washington, USA - FEB 21, 2012
22oz bomber shared by JohnF. Pours with a tan head and a black body. [Apparently, I could not find a better word that to say] Toasty aroma with thinning alcohol and meatiness as opposed to straight up smokiness. Probably just seems that way to me because of all the disparate aspects of the aroma. Flavor is thinned out woody alcohol and some light smoke. There is even a bit of mineral flavor. The barrel aging seems to hinder this beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
iowaherkeye (2703) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - FEB 11, 2012
UPDATED: FEB 12, 2012 22oz bomber, no date purchased back in October at the brewpub for $15--a 5.6% beer for that much, really? Ah, I’m jaded, but feel these guys’ beers will stay on the shelves forever in the 25 states that they distribute to with their ridiculous prices. Clear deep ruby with a flashlight--otherwise black in the glass--with a one finger fizzy medium dark beige head, low retention. Plenty of bourbon and smoky ash notes, though it seems a fair amount boozy and hot. Moderate cola and toasted malts, light caramel. There’s even a light lactose sweetness. The flavor I don’t like. Old ashy burnt campfire takes over and dominates, Flavor has some bourbon--not much, though. Just a little caramel and toast, however light. Dry dirty ashy burnt smoke (not in a good way) finish that blows. Bitterness peaked at a 3, Low prickly carbonation with a light to medium body. I was hoping the price would translate to goodness, as NBC has made a few good beers, but I definitely did not enjoy this--aroma OK, and that’s about it. Should they have used less smoked malt, or a different smoked malt?

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
drpimento (3001) - La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 22, 2011
Odd duck. Matches the commercial description with the smoke. This is courtesy of a friend. Served with a long lasting, fine, tan head and lots of lace. Color is an opaque brown black. Nose is smoke, malt, leather, fruit, yeast. Flavor’s like nose with some tang standing out in front. Kind of reminds me of a porter in the dry Irish style. Body is good, ditto carobonation. Finish is like flavor and has good lenght.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
bodegajohn (4) - LaCrosse, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 22, 2011 does not count
Bottle purchased at brewery. Nose is bandaids, smoke and leather. Taste very similar to nose, silky on the tongue, with a sweetly smokey finish. An aptly named ale.

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