fata2683 (2176) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - SEP 20, 2012
On tap Sept 12’. Pours light Brown with a thin tan head. Aroma is bourbon, vanilla and oak. Flavor is all barrel. Big bourbon and booze with sweet vanilla. DiarmaidBHK (4785) - Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 16, 2012
Draft at brewpub. Pours dark brown with a half inch of nitro foam. Pretty big bourbon on the nose as well as on the tongue. I get a bit of the honey on the finish. Not getting much nut or brown ale influence. Solid! FlacoAlto (4176) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUN 2, 2012
UPDATED: JUN 30, 2012 Sampled on tap @ Thunder Canyon; June 2012
The beer arrives from the tap with a frothy, amber tinged, dark tan colored head that leaves lots of lacing on the sides of my glass. The beer is a concentrated amber / dark brown color that shows a brilliantly clear, brown-amber hue when held up to the light. The beer smells of toasted coconut, lots of toasted grain, some watered down bourbon fruit, and a significant toasted nutty note.
The beer is sweet and caramelized up front, towards the middle a bourbon like spice, touch of alcohol, and fruitiness becomes noticeable and the finish sees an ample berry like fruitiness that slowly morphs into an oaky, spicy, slightly astringent character. The sweet caramelized malt helps accentuated a toasted coconut note, definite vanillin. The toasted, nutty malt notes that were noticeable in the aroma are more subtle in the flavor (the sweeter side of the malt / honey plays a bigger role in the flavor), but still play a supporting role. The body is fairly light, while there is some malty viscousnous to the beer, the barrel seems to thin this out quite a bit as well.
While the Bourbon barrel character is kept fairly subtle here, it is still a touch too much for this beer to stand up to. The finish can be a bit too spicy, oak and warm at times, but having said that, this is still an enjoyable brew. Pleasant enough, but not very memorable; I can’t help but compare this to Firestone’s Velvet Merlin, which is a much better example of a lower alcohol Bourbon Barrel aged beer.