Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2Reuben’s, coming up on their second anniversary, has been hugely successful. They quickly became one of the best breweries in the state, have won numerous awards and medals at beer competitions and make some of the most interesting beers you can get your hands on. One additional, but less well known place where they excel is their small barrel aging program. It has so far produced some of the best barrel aged beers I have ever had (see here) and they continue to surprise with what they can do with an old barrel. A recent release of their Bourbon Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout was no exception. This was their breakfast stout, bulked up to 10% and clocking in with 39 IBU.

The beer pours jet black in color with huge amounts of maple sugar and milk chocolate on the nose with backing notes of roasted malt, whiskey and vanilla on the nose. The beer starts out surprisingly light with just a touch of roasted malt before quickly moving into pleasant notes of sweet caramel and whiskey coupled with milk chocolate and sweet coffee. The finish is long and sweet, with notes of coffee, maple, chocolate, caramel, fruit, grain and pecans all present. This was like drinking a complete breakfast in a glass and was an incredibly complex and deep beer. The beer was well balanced with no individual flavor taking over for more than a few seconds and this beer was in that “can’t tell it is high alcohol” category because of its easiness of drinking.

Reuben’s Brews Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout is bringing breakfast back with an outstanding 5 parts of a well balanced diet out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Unita Sea Legs Baltic Porter

By Iron Chef Leftovers

ssdsadweI am always surprised that breweries coming out of Utah are able to make anything resembling good beer, considering the draconian laws they have around alcohol in that state. Breweries like Unita and Epic have really shown that a brewery can both survive and thrive in that environment. Unita does distribute to Seattle and has some pretty good beers, so a trip to Chuck’s where there was one on tap that I had never seen before – Sea Legs Baltic Porter, was a nice surprise.

From the Unita website:

December 18, 2012 SALT LAKE CITY– Uinta Brewing Company introduces the newest addition to their Crooked Line of beers, Sea Legs Baltic Porter. Sea Legs is a limited release, only 1,500 cases were produced.

Complex and drinkable, Sea Legs delivers flavors of roasted malt and chocolate. Sea Legs was aged in Bourbon Barrels for nearly 12 months adding toasted vanilla and bourbon notes to the flavor profile. This Medium-bodied Baltic Porter has a complex malt profile and mild hop bitterness. With a hidden ABV of 8%, Sea Legs is a siren of a beer.

The beer pours jet black with lots of chocolate, licorice and vanilla dominating the nose with roasted barley hiding in the background. The initial sip yields notes of vanilla with hints of roast before moving into a slightly woody/licorice middle and finally finishing with a long chocolate finish with strong notes of licorice. The wood is somewhat unexpected (and wood I mean like pine rather than oak barrel, which is odd since it is aged in bourbon barrels) and the licorice seems slightly out of balance with the other flavors in terms of dominating them, making this somewhat off-putting. It is an interesting beer and might give it another shot, but it definitely wasn’t one that I would run out to try again.

Unita’s Sea Legs Baltic Porter stumbles into port with 2 broken rudders out of 5.

 

Beer of the Week: NW Peaks Oak Aged Double Redoubt Red

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitle8dOne of my favorite things about NW Peaks is that their brewer, Kevin, is not afraid to take some risks and put out a beer that isn’t exactly commonly found in the Northwest. He took his already tasty Redoubt Red and effectively doubled the malt and hops and made a delicious malt/hop monster. He then decided to take it one step further and aged some of it in a new whiskey barrel and blended it back with the base Double Redoubt to come up with the Oak Aged Double Redoubt.

The beer pours deep reddish brown in color with copious amounts of malt, strong notes of hops and hints of wood and oak on the nose, with the oak really being a supporting cast member rather than dominant as it is in so many oak aged beers. Malt and an almost creamy mouth feel are your introduction to tasting this beer before it moves slowly over to a spicy citrus middle, with very mild hints of bitterness, before finishing with a slight oak character, interspersed with hints of whiskey, malt citrus, spice and resin that lingers for a very long time, and, when it does fade, you wish it would come back. The beer is extremely well balanced – malty without becoming syrupy sweet, hoppy without becoming overly bitter or citrusy, warming without an alcohol burn, and notes of oak that don’t overpower everything else in the beer. This is the perfect beer for a chilly Northwest evening, complicated and rich, but one you could easily go back and have a second of (yes, I did) or switch over to something else and not have killed your palate in the process.

NW Peaks outdoes itself with the production of Oak Aged Double Redoubt Red, erasing any doubts you might have with a perfect 5 stills out of 5.