RATINGS: 17   MEAN: 3.64/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.4/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 216   ABV: 7.2%
Four Peaks two-year-old, barrel-aged Belgian black ale stored in a combination of raw oak, chardonnay and merlot barrels and blended to perfection.

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   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
FlacoAlto (4176) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAR 14, 2011
A solid pour produces a one-finger thick, nicely browned stained, dark tan colored head. The beer is pretty black colored, and hints at some ruby highlights when held up to the light. The aroma mixes fruity fermentation esters with vanillin and spicy oak derived notes in my first whiff of the nose. The combination gets dangerously suggestive of a big, fruity, oak aged red wine at times. The fruit notes remind me of black, fruity plums that are on their way towards becoming prunes, freshly picked red wine grapes, and some solid dried fig notes. There is a supporting malt character to the nose, that is really only noticeable up front, as it succumbs to the fruit and oak notes towards the finish; the malt contributes some roasted notes, more toasted graininess, and perhaps a touch of caramelized malt character. The toasted grain character and the caramelized notes mix with a toasted coconut and vanillin character from the barrel. The barrel character here is actually not over the top here, and other than the nose being a bit too subtle overall, the aroma is quite well integrated and rounded.

My first sip is lightly sweet up front, and quite fruity tasting, which really accentuates the fruitiness even more. The oak here isnt overbearing, but contributes a definite tannic edge, some toasted woodiness, fruit accentuating vanillin and perhaps a touch of spice to the finish. Again the fruit and oak combine to very strongly suggest flavors of a red wine; strikingly so even and it almost makes me think this was aged in a freshly emptied wine barrel. This sort of tastes a bit like Concord grape juice, though without the foxy grape quality. The fruitiness also suggest of prunes and fig juice. The body is fairly light, despite the sweetness, though it has a touch of viscous heft to it; it definitely has the drinkability that a stronger Belgian inspired brew requires. For a beer so dark, the malt character is actually fairly subdued; soft notes of toasty whole grain, some touches of burnt malt and a dark malt roast character towards the finish that has overtones of burnt caramel.

The most interesting thing about this beer is that it tastes so much like an oaky red wine. The beer seems a bit lackluster somehow, despite having a good suite of flavors and aromas to it; the beer really isnt lackluster, as I am enjoying it, but it somehow lacks a presence and finesse that is required for a beer to be great. This is certainly worth trying though.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Sledutah (7305) - Utah, USA - MAR 11, 2011
On tap at RBWG, thanks to Four Peaks
Appearance: Black with a medium sized beige head and good lacing
Aroma: Toasted malts, toffee and dark fruits
Taste: Belgian yeast, dark fruits and oak

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Rusty (1547) - Mesa, Arizona, USA - MAR 10, 2011
Sample at RBWG thanks to four peaks. Pours a nice black with a light brown head. Aroma is oak, bourbon, belgian yeasts, chocolate, caramel, roast. Flavor is dark fruits, bourbon, belgian yeasts, oaky tannins and a bit of sweetness. Nice brew.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
daknole (10926) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - MAR 8, 2011
An amazing donation from some really great guys. Thanks! Dark pour. Nice saison yeast aroma with some oak and fruit. Flavor is a really nice blend of oak, light spice, fruit and yeast. Rather delicious!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
nbutler11 (1267) - Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, ENGLAND - MAR 8, 2011
On tap at the Tempe location as well as at RBWG 2011. Pours charcoal in color with a ruby tint around the edges and a creamy brown head. Smells and tastes predominatly of bourbon, cinnamon, toasted coconut, and cranberries. Additional notes of tannins, belgian yeast, and oak in the flavor. Round red grape and biscuity malt profile on the mid with a dryness on the finish. Delicious. Next to Sirius Black this is the best beer Ive ever had from Four Peaks and maybe from Arizona. Thank you for donating a 5 gallaon keg for our Winter Gathering. Definitely above and beyond.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
cbkschubert (2901) - BFE, Arizona, USA - MAR 7, 2011
On tap @ RBWG - Pours a black color with a small light tan head. Very light spotty lacing. Aroma is mostly toasted oak but its not too strong. Flavor was much of the same but the oak was a little more pronounced. Didnt get a lot of the Belgian aspect of the beer. Medium body. A nice beer. Also, Id like to give a shout out to Four Peaks. The most hospitable brewery I visited the whole trip. Thanks.

   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
brokensail (16342) - Dublin, California, USA - MAR 7, 2011
UPDATED: MAR 8, 2011 Growler shared by a generous soul who brought this back from RBWG. A: The pour is a very dark brown, almost black with a thin off-white/tan head. S: Starts off with lots of butter and rubbing alcohol. Definitely some barrel notes (dark char on it) with a touch of vanilla. Maybe a bit of a white wine aroma to it as well. Some mild sweetness and dark, roasted malts. Maybe a little dark fruits. T: The flavor is a bit better with less butter emphasis. A really strong charred oak flavor which is nice in small amounts, but it sort of wears on you after awhile and becomes a bit like chewing on a piece of tanbark. Sort of bland in terms of the actual beer, as all you can really taste is the barrel and some of the butter. M: The body is medium with a low level of carbonation. D: Not much positive to say about this one. Not worth the tick.

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