Featured Review – Lough Gill Barrel-Aged Beer # 1 – Tara

Back to Lough Gill based in Sligo, Ireland and the last of the three real big beers on three different barrel types…

We have reached Tara. This time the oatmeal stout is aged in Pedro Jimenez Sherry barrels so this should be quite distinct from Spear and Trinity. This is much more my speed. There are layers here. A deep wine sweetness is first. Then there is an oaky woody note that pops up. The base is still thinnish but the flavors are adding to it. Has a proper musty sort of grand library with a fire taste.

Sean Suggests for May 2025

This month the theme is unique and hard to find and I have three that will test your mettle as both a beer shopper and a beer drinker.

Homage Brewing The Flower Called Nowhere Barrel Aged Saison – 6% – “This marks the 5th blend of one of our favorite beers to make. A few years ago we conceptualized a Saison with delicate nuances of flowers. We trialed various flowers and settled upon Europe Rose for its soft and fragrant aroma, as well as Osmanthus, which has a unique fragrance of peach and apricot that compliments the stone fruit qualities of the wild yeast. Lastly, we added Chrysanthemum, which has a sweet, hay, and honey like quality that supports the aged hops in the beer, adding a rustic touch.”

New BelgiumTart Lychee – 7.5% – ” sour ale brewed with lychee and a hint of cinnamon that combine to create a beautiful balance between sweet and tart.”

The BrueryCire – 18.9% – “Produced through painstaking care and attention from our Bruers, Cire is more than just a beer; it’s our Solera Blended Anniversary Old Ale. Blended from the best of the Bruery’s stock each year & aged in Buffalo Trace and Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels, Cire carries a deeply complex, layered flavor profile. The perfect way to commemorate 16 years of leadership in the industry.”

Review – Scottish Golden Aged in Single Malt Whiskey Casks from Innis & Gunn

One of four barrel-aged expressions of a Scottish Ale, the Single Malt Whiskey matured version might not have the spirit geek cred of Caribbean Rum or Islay casks, but the issue is how does the base Innis & Gunn beer react with each cask.

Though I am afraid of the combination of clear bottle and non-refrigerated bottles, I picked up the lone bottle to try and the aroma is nice and Scotch-y but then the flavor turns a little too sweet. Almost cola sweet but that aroma keeps pulling the affair back to center. I like the subtle smoke note here as well. I wonder how this tastes fresh, would it have less caramel?

Rasputin Goes Westward

Old Rasputin Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing is a classic of the style, but even a classic can change it up a little.

Back in April 2022, North Coast Brewing Company partnered with Westward Whiskey. “Single malt barrels were shipped to Fort Bragg and filled with Old Rasputin in August 2022. Now the results of our hard work have paid off, and we are proud to bring you a special offering: Our iconic Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout aged to perfection in Westward Whiskey Single Malt barrels!”

Review – Infinite Wishes 2024 from Smog City Brewing

Back to Smog City Brewing and their 2024 edition of Infinite Wishes, a barrel-aged stout, after a lager review detour.

The 2024 pours an inky black with a nice coffee foam head that dissipates in a bubbly fashion. For such a big ABV beer, this is not thick sludge but rather a sprightly beer. The predominant note is oak. Dark and roasty and far more dry than sweet. As it warms, a little chocolate pops through the wood but curiously not much bourbon coming through on this. Just perfect though for a spring day.

Super Nectar

Instead of going dry this month, I am widening my beverages. Not only N/A but ciders and now highlighting meads. Super meads from Nectar Creek Meadery.

Super Cyser: “Back by popular demand, Nectar Creek Meadery and 2 Towns Ciderhouse are proud to reintroduce Super Cyser, a regal mead from 10 years ago, breathing new life into this time honored masterpiece.  This warm, rich cyser is made with Pacific Northwest apples and local blackberry honey. Fermented and aged in white wine barrels, Super Cyser boasts a rich, aromatic profile, perfectly balancing the acidity of crisp apples with the sweetness of honey.”

Super Mure: “With a respectful nod to tradition, Super Mure revives the classic melomel style reminiscent of Medieval times. This royal nectar combines blackberries and blackberry honey fermented in oak barrels. It delivers just the right balance of tannin, oak character and warm honey sweetness. At a commanding 14% alcohol by volume (ABV), this indulgent creation offers a sensory journey that is nothing short of extraordinary.”

Reviews to follow later this month!

Firestone Walker Anniversary Now and Five Years Ago

Each year, I taste test the current FW Anniversary blend and then taste the blend from five years ago.  This time around it is 27 vs 22.

This years anniversary beer, aka XXVIII or 27 was created by the team of Molly Lonborg from Alta Colina, Kevin Sass from Halter Ranch Beer Club Member Ezekial Palmer. Below are strands used in the blend:

DDBA Batch 10k – Aged in Wheated Bourbon Barrels (33%) – Imperial Special Bitter

Dividing Time – Aged in Wheated and Rye Bourbon Barrels (29%) – Munich Wine Made in Collaboration with Private Press

Bravo – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (13%) – Imperial Brown Ale

Rip This Joint – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (13%) – Imperial Stout Made in Collaboration with Side Project

Velvet Merkin – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (12%) – Milk Stout

XXII is made up of the following componemts: 44% Stickee Monkee, 22% Parabola, 22% Bravo, 7% Rum Barrel Helldorado, 5% Gin Barrel Helldorado.

Now onto the reviews…

22 – even though the rum and gin barrels are only 12% of the total, I am getting a bit of both. There is chocolate and a kick of spice here that I like the interplay between. Has a definite Belgian quad taste, sorry Central Coast Quad.

27 – seems kind of one note to me overall. It is a really good chocolate brownie. in beer form. Thick and muddy in a good way. Not much barrel notes to be found which I was sorta expecting considering the beers in the blend.

Even five years on, the 22 wins. If there has been more bourbon in 27, I might have given it the nod though.

Corpo Seco

I am not a spooky season guy but Wayfinder Beers Decocted Pumpkin Strong Ale aged on Westward Whiskey barrels could make me change my mind.  L.A. gets a fair supply of their beer, so maybe I will see Corpo Seco on shelves. Plus Frank looks good on the can.

Hank

Hank is just a solid name.  For a person, a dog or a beer.  And de Garde Brewing from Tillamook, Oregon has a dessert-ish beer ready with a SoCal connection.

“During his visit for our last anniversary, we took the opportunity to taste through some barrels and compose a special blend with our good friend Henry from Monkish Brewing Co.

It’s a thoughtful and gorgeous combination of both three and five year aged barrels of our spontaneous beer, all built around the cornerstone of a stunning Moscatel dessert wine barrel. There’s mature funk, yet it still carries a remarkable vibrancy. A lot going on here, and a lot to savor.”