Thursday, September 25, 2008

Harviestoun Ola Dubh (12 Year Old)

This is one of a set of three beers that came out in a collaboration of Harviestoun Brewery and Highland Park distillery. Each of the beers is aged in a different cask of Highland Park single malt, 12 year old, 16 year old and 30 year old respectively. I decided to start with the first one and my thoughts on it are below. The bottle ran me $7.99. As a side note, Ola Dubh translates into "Black Oil".

Bottle 07805. Pours into my glass a dark black hue with some brown edges and a half inch of tan head that falls to bubbles atop the brew. Aromas start out with roasted, slightly burnt dark malts and a nice sturdy chocolate aroma. Interwoven there are wood, smoke, peat and whiskey notes that flow in and out. A very unique and enjoyable aroma.

First sip brings a roasted, smokey dark malt upfront that leads way to chocolate and coffee accents. A salty twang moves in as wood and earthy peat intermingle across the palate. The smokey single malt hits fairly strong on the finish along with a sort of oily mouthfeel. Nice bitterness and a touch of vinous fruit in the aftertaste. Complex, tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a subtle creaminess and mellow carbonation. I thought this would be heavier, but I am happily surprised as the body makes it more drinkable. Overall, this is the first of the three I have tried, still having to sample the 16 and 30, however so far I am glad I purchased this one. The single malt really adds a new element to this enjoyable, sipping brew. Worth seeking out in my opinion.

Overall I give this beer a rating of Amazing. Worth seeking out!

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Lost Abbey - Cuvee De Tomme 2008

2008 vintage. 375ml corked bottle. Pours into my tulip glass a deep dark, hazy cola brown color with a small light tan head on top that fades to a ring. Aromas start out with rich, intoxicating malts. Somewhat roasted with caramel, vanilla and raisins. Cherries are big in the nose alongside a tart funkiness with mild vinegar. Brown sugar and oak nuances with light bourbon.

First sip brings roasted, dark malts upfront with notes of caramel and vanilla. Raisins make quite an appearance as well. The middle brings a melding of sour cherries, oak tannins and a tart, somewhat funky brett aspect. Flows down with a whisper of bourbon and finishes quite dry with lingering cherry tones and a tart afterthought. Alcohol is nowhere to be found. A deeply multi-layered taste experience.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth airy quality about it. Good carbonation all the way through. This is somewhat more acidic, with more woody tannins than the original black label bottles I've drank. Overall though, it's still a very tasty treat and I'm glad to have had the chance to sample this year's version. Cheers to Lost Abbey and the Sinner's Club.

Overall I gave this brew a rating of Amazing.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout - Winter '04-'05 Vintage

I decided to pull a vintage beer out of my cellar tonight that I haven't had in awhile. That beer being a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout from the Winter '04-'05 release that has been quietly sitting in my cellar. Luckily, I have another bottle of this same vintage sleeping down there too.

The beer pours out a deep, viscous black that lets not light through. Mild carbonation here but a inch of dark tan foam manages to form atop the beer and leave some spotty lacing as it falls. Aromas start out with deeply roasted malts and a big chocolate, reminds me of bitter chocolate personally. Vinous notes mix in with deep molasses and toffee. Licorice in the background with a note of oxidation as well. Overall though, a very enjoyable aroma after aging these past years.

First sip brings deep roasted dark malts to the forefront with a hint of sweetness. Bitter chocolate flavors rush in with notes of molasses, toffee and a mild coffee undertone. Vinous, slightly fruity flavors are these as well. Slightly burnt with a touch of licorice, the brew finishes with a wisp of alcohol heat on the end of each sip. Tasty stuff.

Mouthfeel is thick and rich with a solid, smooth maltiness all the way through. This one really grabs hold as it goes down. Slightly creamy as well. Overall, age has mellowed this brew out from what it is when fresh for sure. I can without a doubt say this is a great candidate for a beer to age and I'd recommend buying a six pack and letting it take a nap in your cellar, sampling a bottle every year to see how it changes. I'll be buying another sixer when I can to do just that!

Overall I gave this vintage brew a rating of Great.

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