Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thursdays shouldn't be this awesome

While it shouldn't surprise me after last time, my buddy Craig is really generous with his beer.  We planned to get together and split my bottle of Ommegang Bourbon Barrel Three Philosophers and his 2006 Alesmith Decadence, Dead by Dawn.  What ended up happening was basically that but we also opened a bottle of Jackie O's Cellar Cuvee 2, a coffee imperial stout from 2009, because Craig pulled out like 5 bottles of other rare stuff and just told me to choose.

We started with the Ommegang Bourbon Barrel Three Philosophers I picked up at the brewery during the Inn at Cooperstown weekend (Friday and Saturday).  It was barreled in September 2009 and then bottled in 2010 so it was already almost two years old when I bought it.
Nose full of sweet caramel, bourbon with a few dark fruit notes from the quad base.  Thick mouthfeel, low carbonation.  Initially very fruity with some alcohol, but no burn.  After that some oak comes out along with some caramel.  Some bourbon is present but it blends really well with the quad.  I felt like the cherry part of Three Philosophers was more prevalent than usual but it may have just been the added sweetness from the bourbon mixing with the quad causing it.  Another very enjoyable bourbon barrel beer from Ommegang.  Can't wait to try the Bourbon Barrel Abbey I have at some point.

Next up was my big decision.  Along with the Alesmith Decadence, Craig put four other bottles in the refrigerator, all of which I would have wanted to try.  I'll admit, I partially chose the Jackie O's Cellar Cuvee 2 because of its rarity but I also chose it because I've never had anything by them and they get a lot of talk.  Considering this was bottle 114 of 156, super nice of Craig to share it with me.  You can see all the other bottles in the picture below although you may not know what's what.
All coffee nose, nothing else.  Coffee sourness up front leads into some chocolate, a little bourbon and maybe a little cinnamon.  We both thought we tasted cinnamon but for me at least it may have just been because we read it was brewed with it.  Hard for me to say.  While I got more used to the initial coffee sourness as I drank more and it started tasting better, I never fully came to terms with it and that note definitely lowered my enjoyment a bit.  I'm guessing this was fantastic fresh but aged, at least at this point, it was only decent to me.

Finally, last but definitely not least, was the 2006 Alesmith Decadence, Dead by Dawn.
Smelled of caramel, brown sugar, and really mild hops which was really surprising considering its age.  Initially caramel, then some piney hop flavor (no bitterness, just flavor), finishing with some apple and a tiny bit of cardboard.  The latter sounds gross, I know, but it's so mild it just blends into the other flavors.  It's a result of oxidation occurring over the 5 years since it was bottled.  The most surprising part was the pine notes from the hops used since we both figured they would have faded by now.  However, they were there and balanced the caramel sweetness really well.  Ends up tasting of caramel hops without the strong bitterness of fresh hops and was just delicious.  This was my favorite of the night with the Three Philosophers coming in just behind.

Another great night sharing beers with Craig.  Getting to look at all the crazy stuff he has in his cellar was fun too.  He offered a bottle of 2006 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout to me, but I figure we'll just open that the next time we hang out instead.  Hope that's cool Craig.  It's on the internet now, so it has to be true.

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