Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The term "whiskey barrel" returns 825 beers on Beer Advocate. Spelling it "whisky" gives another 798. So I'd be a curmudgeon to call it a gimmick, but that's how I feel when I put my nose into this nice murky-looking brown ale and get a toasty blast of damp bourbon-cask in my face.
I like whisk(e)y. Uncapping a Laphroaig brings me to a state of physical arousal. I bet there's plenty of beer drinkers who really appreciate the depth of infusion you can achieve by aging beers in various casks. But a generic whiskey-whiff rising off the head of a beer doesn't move me. Maybe I'm damaged in some way.
Port casks are also involved in the aging of this beer, and word has it their next releases in this series may well be exclusively port-casked. I'd be interested to try one, if only to see which barrel is responsible for completely overwhelming the taste of the beer.
The nose is almost pure whiskey, with just a faint apple-ish odour coming through. It tastes like an old brown ale, but with whiskey supplanting the toffee. The aftertaste is dry, a little treacly, and suggestive of the bottom third of a good cigar. Five sips in and the head becomes a memory: flat cola-looking.
For the record, Old Rasputin XII is the best whiskey-aged beer I've had. Don't buy it, it's $30 or something stupid. But take my word for it, it's lovely.