highibus (821) - Vail, Arizona, USA - JAN 11, 2008
On tap at Barrio Brewing, pours with an small off white head. Nice lacing. Dark opaque brown with red hues on the side. Nice smooth burbon taste. Clean finish with a nice warming going down but not hot at all. Nice beer. cbkschubert (2901) - BFE, Arizona, USA - JAN 10, 2008
On tap @ Barrio Brewing - Pours a clear brown color with dark red edges and has a small light tan head. Lacing is light but clumpy. Aroma is wonderful. It’s brandy, butterscotch, toasted malt and light vanilla. Flavor is much of the same with some light esters in there. Couldn’t detect the bourbon. Well balanced all the way around. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth. Medium body. I was pleasantly suprised to find it still on tap. An excellent beer. FlacoAlto (4182) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - DEC 22, 2007
The pour from the tap produces a half finger thick, brown tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark brown, clear around the edges, red tinted color. There is a touch of hot alcohol in the aroma along with ample, rich, caramelized notes, toffee aromatics, butterscotch and a bit of vanillin.
The beer is sweet tasting with lots of caramelized notes. The barrel has a definite effect with spicy oak notes, vanillin and butterscotch all being easily noticed. The finish is a touch hot with alcohol, though it is not overwhelming. Fruity flavors of cherry and raisins seem the signature of the Brandy influence. The beer is thick and chewy with a solid malt backbone. The vanillin and buttery oak flavors combine quite well with the malt notes of caramel, brown sugar and toffee. Other malt notes of biscuits and lightly toasted whole grain bread are also found towards the middle of this brew. The finish is dominated by a spicy, tannic, lightly astringent oak character, which, along with the warming Bourbon notes, helps to balance the up front, rich, malt flavors; the finish is just drying enough to ready the palate for another sip of this rich brew.
Thankfully the Bourbon does not play a huge role here, it does seem to add a touch of alcoholic heat in the finish. Ample oak flavors are held well in check by the malt, plus the subtle brandy notes add to the nicely layered complexity of this brew. This is very well done and there is definitely enough of a base beer here to stand up to the barrel aging process.