Troegs Brewing Company, Nimble Giant Double IPA, Hershey, PA
9% abv. 16 oz can with freshness expiration date of 10/04/2017, so this can is pretty fresh. Troegs brews this once a year. Pours a dark orange color with a thick white head. Good head retention andBelgian lace. Fresh squeezed grapefruit on the nose with a touch of white pepper. Alcohol is definitely present on the first sip, but it doesn’t taste as boozy as I thought it would. Orange zest, apricot, unripened mango, and grapefruit flavors. Pretty smooth and drinkable for the high abv. This is a dangerous beer. Grapefruit flavors become more prominent with each sip. Interesting mix of hop resin oils, yet dry at finish. Some caramel, honey, and candy sugar sweetness sneaks through as well, but it does not become cloying. This is clearly not your everyday go to beer, but it is certainly something to look forward to this time of the year.
Ruhstaller Farm and Brewery, DiGregorio English Style Sacramento Barleywine, Sacramento, CA
A gift from the amazing Jamie Okuma. This is their 2015 offering and I cellared it for about 6 months. I have been waiting to crack this one open and tonight is the night.
Beautiful 22oz bottle with burlap on the neck was designed by artist Jose DiGregorio. Brewed with only Sacramento grown hops. Only 180 cases of this beer were produced. 12% abv. 35 IBUs.
Pours a beautiful garnet amber color with very little head. Sweet caramel and toffee on the nose with hints of citrus, fig, and dates. First sip is super smooth with virtually no alcohol present at all. This is one dangerous beer! Much more hop bitterness than expected, especially after cellaring it for a while. Some peppery spiciness with touches of coriander. Tons of rich, chewy malt with toasted bread, dry cracker, and fresh baked fig bar flavors. Each sip starts super smooth and ends with a mild hop bite. Some warming in the belly after the first half glass, but the alcohol is masked so well you’d think it was only 7%. Some fruity but dry grape flavors as well. This beer is complex and a joy to drink. It is one of the best barleywines I have had in a long time. Thank you Jamie for sharing this one with me!
Goose Island Beer Company, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale
This is the 2014 version that I cellared for more than a year. Many thanks to my buddy Jeff for the 2015 version that just took its place in the beer cellar. I was also lucky enough to get my hands on the Bourbon County Stout and the Bourbon County Coffee Stout. Patience is a virtue and these will have to sit for a while before I crack them open.
12.3% abv. Wonderful port wine, caramel, and dark fruit aroma. First sip is sweet and super smooth with a comforting boozy warming in the back of the throat. All of the oak, sweet bourbon, and rich dark fruit flavors you would expect from a beer this big. A touch of cloves and mildly peppery spice, but otherwise this is all malt and all delicious. Raisins, bourbon vanilla, fig, honey, port wine, caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, creme brûlée, and even a touch of coffee. Lot’s of similarities to an English style Old Ale. I mentioned a slight boozy burn at the beginning, but as you work through this beer the alcohol totally disappears. I drank this one way too quickly. Damn it is dangerous. A fantastic offering that just made it to my top 100 beers of all time.
Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Sunday Morning Stout, Easton, PA
11.3% abv. Bourbon barrel aged with coffee added. Coffee aroma explodes from the bottle. Pours black with a reddish tan head. There is absolutely no doubt that this is a big beer to be treated cautiously. First sip is oak, bourbon, and coffee. Warming is there, but the alcohol is masked very well. Complex flavor profile includes oak, sherry, bourbon, vanilla, anise, pepper, maple syrup, and of course tons of coffee. It has a very earthy base taste, like raw cocoa nibs. I had to check, it packs a whopping 340 calories! Holy shit, that is just a hair less than two full sized Snickers bars, buut as Ogden Nash once said, “candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker!” Full bodied, almost viscous. Tons of roasted sweetness, but hops do emerge a bit after a few ounces. Burnt sugar, caramel, figs, prunes, and maybe even some coconut add to the complex mix of flavors.Damn this one is kicking my ass, these sneaky imperial stouts are a force to be reckoned with.