Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Small Bottle Share

I had some friends over this weekend and and they brought a couple of bottles over to share. We started with one of my bottles, a Captain Lawrence Smoke from the Oak. This one was an Imperial Smoked Porter that was aged in wine barrels.
Very smoky aroma with a slight hint of red wine. On my first sip, the major flavor was smoke. Not harsh, more pleasant campfire. The wine part of it though sort of came and went and was sort of interesting. Not bad, just interesting. The major issue is the barrel flavors and the smoke flavors didn't blend well. Luckily, they didn't clash either but without the blending the beer just doesn't come together. Also, even with the smoke not being overwhelming, I'm not sure how a big glass of it would have gone down. I have bottles of rum barrel and apple brandy barrel and hope their flavors blend a bit better and cause the smoke to relax some.

After that, we opened Craig's Half Acre Small Animal, Big Machine, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale made with currants and cherries. I know it's hard to see, but the bottle is crazy looking.
Smelled slightly Belgian, couldn't get much of the fruit. Started with caramel and banana flavors then the fruit appeared and it ended a little sweet with a hint of cherry. Decent beer and I thought it went down easy considering its strength. Sort of reminded me of a quad but with some cherry flavors instead of plums.

Up next was unfortunately a disappointment of the night, Cigar City Improvisacion, an oatmeal rye india-style brown ale.
Smelled slightly spicy. First sip, though, was hugely spicy from the rye with maybe a little bitterness coming from the hops. Just so freaking spicy, almost unbearably. The other issue was that it was hugely carbonated which caused the head to fill half the tasting glass on relatively gentle pours. In the end, the spiciness just felt overdone and made it hard to enjoy and finish even the small glasses that we poured. Sorry Jared!

Last, another bottle from Craig, Jackie O's Hocking Triple.
I remember enjoying this but don't have a ton of specifics. It wasn't as Belgian as a normal tripel, possibly a result of the honey that was used in it. Slight hop bitterness, but mostly to balance the sweetness. Quite good and I imagine the barrel aged version of it, Kentucky Monk, is really good.

I drank some Left Hand and Victory stuff that day as well but those were just to fill in the gaps. It was really nice of my friends to bring over stuff for us to split. Plus, I've been meaning to open that Smoke from the Oak for a while so that's good. Fun day and fun beers. Sorry about the simple descriptions, didn't write much down so did it all from memory.

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