FlacoAlto (4216) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 2, 2012
Nice cascading, creamy textured, pale amber tinged, tan head; the head leaves some nice, layered lacing on the sides of my glass as I slowly work my way through this beer. The beer, once the tight bubbles clear, is a bright amber color that shows a clear, nice copper hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of hoppy grapefruit, and green, herbal, not quite vegetal hops up front. Whole grain cracker malt notes play a supporting role here, and the barrel influence is quite light; this last seems to accentuate the herbal and green hop notes more than being noticeable in and of itself.
Creamy textured and still quite hoppy and bitter tasting; up front the citrus and herbal hops dominate, while the finish starts to see the oak component start to interject, it mingles / mixes quite well with the bitter hops, but adds some astringency and again accentuates the herbal side of the hops. Flavors of white pepper, ruby-red-grapefruit, bitter herbs, green wood, and orange juice all mix together into a pretty seamless whole. The body is really quite smooth, this does have some viscosity to it, but comes off much lighter than it would otherwise due to the much suppressed carbonation. The finish has a nice, noticeable, but still reasonably light, spiciness to it from the oak; at times it can taste quite woody in the finish, but at all times the oak is but a single component of the flavor of this beer. As the beer warms up the maltiness starts to pick up a bit more; a touch caramelized in character, perhaps a hint of toasted nutty notes, but mostely whole grain cracker like character softly influences the flavor of this beer.
This must not be the first use of this barrel, the character is somewhat muted, or said better, quite well integrated with the base beer; I really like that it doesn’t overwhelm the hoppy base beer. Not bad, and enjoyable even, but I still can’t but help think that the base beer is better without the oak / barrel addition, no matter how well integrated it is; actually a heavy dose of dry-hopping in the barrel might make this a bit more vibrantly hoppy and even better tasting, to my palate at least.