Up From The Cellar – Bourbon County Stout 2014

I have found a beer that I guess I hid out of spite for SABInBev. Time to open this 2014 pre-variant heavy slate of Bourbon County Stouts.

BCS14 – Pours a murky dark brown.  Light bourbon on the nose.  A little cherry in the taste but this is not heavy at all.  Some chocolate and wood notes as well with a tiny touch of sour at the back. Alcohol doesn’t really show.  Thinking that maybe 7 years was too much time? Just amazed at how thin it is overall

Not a Utopia Now

A while back, I was gifted a Sam Adams Utopias. Quite an old one, I think. I could never quite find the occasion to fit the beer. Well, silver linings are here.

When California lifts the gathering ban, I am going to schedule some friends to attend an opening party and bring some stouts of their own. Maybe like…

I suggest that you and yours break out a special beer when your lockdown is lifted. You don’t have to break any social distance rules if you are don’t want to but break the saving for later rule.

Up from the Cellar – Jubel 2010 (Once a Decade Ale) from Deschutes

So this has been waiting in my cellar for a decade to pass. Couldn’t quite open it in 2014 or 2018. Seemed to need a bigger date for this “Super Jubel” from Deschutes.

Jubel 2010, subtitled Once a Decade Ale. Seemed appropriate that I should crack the wax off of this beer on 1/1/20.  Pours a dark amber, close to brown. The aroma filled the room momentarily. Fruitcake comes to mind.  Sweet brandy.  This beer still holds some ABV kick. This is a quite dry beer.  You get that spirit and wine mix but then it flattens into the alcohol. More subtle notes may have been lost in the ten years of aging. Quite good for a beer of this age. 

Up From the Cellar – (2) from Smog City

I am ever so slowly draining my cellar of beer and a weekend back, I decided to pull up two beers from Smog City. One from 2014 and one from 2015.

Goldie (2014) pours a deep amber color. This beer lets you know it’s big but not in an aggressive way.  Cheeks aren’t warm but you can feel the effects of the beer. The bourbon character melds with the strong ale equally. Hint of pineapple and caramel.  Slight burn with each sip. A little tiny touch of honey sweetness leads to a dry finish.

Infinite Wishes (2015) Pours dark black but not much head to it. The barrel has left this building. There is some red wine aged notes. Odd that a 2014 strong ale with less ABV in Goldie lasted longer.  This may have turned just past the point of maturation. Getting some cherry notes making it a little bit sour.  Chocolate is the predominant taste. 

Up From The Cellar – Bois from The Bruery

Since it is an Orange County themed month, I went down to the Cellar (aka the car park, aka the garage) and pulled up a beer from The Bruery from way back in 2013.

This is what the website says about this anniversary ale. “Bois is our fifth anniversary ale, loosely brewed in the English-style Old Ale tradition using our house Belgian yeast strain and then blended using the solera method. A portion of each of our anniversary ales is saved in our barrels and blended in with the next year’s production, providing more complexity and depth of character that comes with age. Layered with complex flavors of dark fruit,vanilla, oak, and burnt sugar, Bois is a robust ale, surely the perfect beer to mark this major milestone.”

Damn this is a really sweet beer. Even the aroma is sweet. Boozy on the tongue and it does burn the throat a bit. Still hot after 6 years. Not much bourbon or barrel notes left. For a beer named after the Wood anniversary, I was hoping for some oak. Getting a vanilla maple syrup combo. Maybe better served to have held longer.

Up From the Cellar – Collage # 1

One of my goals for late 2018 that will bleed over into 2019, is to clear the ol’ beer cellar to a more manageable size. That means, more of this…

I have been holding onto this beer for quite a while now.  Almost opened it on a couple of occasions but I finally broke through and brought it up from the cellar.  With the combined knowledge of Deschutes and Hair of the Dog, my worry about how this was holding up was more allayed than for other beers.  Initially, there is oak and quickly I learn that Collage #1 is still boozy after all these years.

Cherry and spice swirl around in pie formation but settle into the vicinity of a Flanders Red.  For a beer so old, it really tastes bright.  Not viscous or weird at all.  I probably should have sipped this a bit slower to look for more flavor adjectives but my surprise at its durability had me drinking it quicker.

Featured Review – Firestone Walker XVII

I am running out of the 22oz bombers! I only keep 5 years running of the Firestone Walker Anniversary blend and with XVII done, I am down to only three.

Here is my review of this five year old beer:
This has really mellowed perhaps due to the brandy barrel or to using imperial brown ale as blend leaders. There is bourbon on the nose but not overly harsh. Initial part of the sip has a little spirit but not the alcohol bite. It is a little thin with a slight silky texture that is sticky on the tongue but there is still a little carbonated zip to this one. It almost reminds me of good English toffee.

And as a reminder, here are the blend details for the beer designed by Neil Collins and Chelsea Franchi of Tablas Creek Winery.

Bravo / Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 30% of Final Blend
-Imperial Brown Ale

Sticky Monkey / Aged in Bourbon and Whiskey Barrels / 25% of Final Blend
-English Barley Wine Brewed with Mexican Turbinado (brown) Sugar

Velvet Merkin / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 15% of Final Blend
-Traditional Oatmeal Stout

Parabola / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 15% of Final Blend
-Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout

Double DBA / Aged in retired Firestone Union Barrels / 8% of Final Blend
-Double strength English Pale Ale

Helldorado / Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 4% of Final Blend
-Blonde Barley Wine Brewed with Buckwheat Honey

Wookey Jack / 100% Stainless Steel / 3% of Final Blend
-Black Rye India Pale Ale

This has really mellowed perhaps due to the brandy barrel or to using imperial brown ale as leaders bourbon on the nose but not harsh. Initial part of the sip has a little harshness but not the alcohol bite little thin with a slight silky texture sticky on the tongue reminds me of good English toffee little carbonated zip to this one still

Featured Beer Review – Iron Lady from Ladyface

Iron Lady is the last beer of the trio of local beers that I hauled up from the cellar to review.

How did this Ladyface beer fare with age?

Iron Lady is a mere 2+ years old. Bottled in January 2016. This is tilted more to wine than beer. Viognier must is quite powerful. The strong Belgian Golden is muted by the white wine. Not super dry but a combo of grape and dry. Aroma is close to cider. Does not taste over 10% at all. I would have liked to see a more ester-y beer to make this more 50/50 wine and beer.

Up From the Cellar – Vintage Ale from Unibroue and Trader Joe’s

That was quite the cork misadventure. Top half sheared off. The neck was quite stuck. Had to hack away at it and when I finally got the cork pushed into the bottle, there was a short geyser that delayed my drinking as I was forced to clean up the sticky mess. Once drunk, it was still quite good for five years old. Getting a cola like sweetness with a light fizz to it. Some alcohol notes seep through at the back of the throat. Some Rohrschach lacing on the glass.

For a beer that is in essence, over 5 years old, it held up remarkably well. No weird off notes or flavors at all.

Up From the Cellar – 2013 Barleywine from Oakshire

Every twice in awhile, I get a wild hare and go to raiding the beer cellar. Sorry, been listening to the S-Town podcast.

Going back to the halcyon days of 2013 for a barleywine from Oakshire Brewing of Eugene, Oregon.

This one did bubble over even though I let it rest for a bit. As I cleaned up the mess, I got a vinous note in the aroma that worried me a bit. And when poured into the glass, there were flecks of brown stirring around.

Some oxidization had happened but as the beer warmed up, it became much more oaky and bourbon barrel. The caramel notes were intermingling with the remaining hop character as well in the this opaque light brown beer. Getting a touch of chocolate as well.

I would hazard a guess that this beer was better a couple years ago. The fade to barrel has simplified a beer that I hazard a guess was happier and less sweet.