Monday, January 30, 2012

Random Tuesday Tasting Part 1

A couple weeks ago, I went over a friend's house with another buddy to hang out and split some beers. Considering it was a Tuesday we weren't planning on opening too much but, well, things didn't really work out that way and we ended up opening 8 different beers. Since eight at once would be too much, I'm going to talk about four of them today and then the rest tomorrow just to avoid boring you all.

We started with the Allagash Tenth Anniversary, an imperial witbier that's about 5 years old at this point.
Even after five years, some carbonation still existed. It looks still in the picture but there were definitely some bubbles in person. Fruity nose, very inviting. Sort of a dryish sweetness, easy to drink and delicious which was amazing considering it is 10%. Mostly clean finish. Some oxidation that blended well into the other flavors. Eventually we all settled on a description of oranges and cream. Quite a nice start.

Up next was another Allagash, their Balaton, a cherry wild ale. This is part of their coolship series so it was spontaneously fermented in the lambic style just in Maine instead of Belgium so it can't really be called a lambic.
Deep cherry nose. Great tartness. Some oak and a touch of sugary sweetness followed by a little bit of cinnamon flavor. Decently dry as well. Just incredibly complex and well rounded. There's something to be said about doing these beers properly and giving them the time to develop. Just seems to add a lot of complexity that is sometimes missing in other American Wild Ales. Really makes me hope I get to try some of the other coolship beers.

We decided on a change of pace next and opened the 2009 Alaskan Barleywine.
Slightly sharp nose with some caramel in it. Body was a tiny bit thin but not too bad. Started with some old hop notes, a slight bitterness, then a bit of caramel in the finish. Considering it was three years old, The hops were way more forward then I expected with an almost resiny bitterness. The alcohol came and went as well though it was never too bad at 9+%. Pretty good though it was definitely overshadowed by the first two through no fault of its own.

The last one I'll talk about today is the Olde Burnside Highland Wild Ale.
Had a sweet fruity nose reminiscent of jam and quite nice. However, the pleasant nose didn't hold up at all in the flavors that followed unfortunately. Some vinegar up front which slowly gained a huge amount corn flavor and then finished with an unmistakable cool ranch dorito flavor. (Props to Eric for the cool ranch comparison as it didn't occur to me until after he said it.) As I drank more, the awful, awful cool ranch flavor did diminish a bit but the corn in the middle never did. If the beer had just followed from the nose it would have been really good but, well, it didn't. Just a bizarre beer. I'll admit I think I liked it the least of the three of us and it has really good reviews on BeerAdvocate so maybe I just don't like the combination and others would. Who knows though.

So that was the first half of the tasting. I'll ruin the surprise right now and say the Balaton was probably my favorite of the night though there were some surprises in the latter set. But the way the cherry and sour came together in the Allagash was just tough to beat. Stay tuned for more tomorrow!


  1. There was a comment here for a couple minutes which talked about making lambic jelly. Sounds fantastic though expensive.

  2. That Old Burnside had a terrible aftertaste. Just a really odd beer that didn't live up to the hype from the reviews. Also, Zoey makes an appearance in the Alaskan Barleywine shot!

  3. Yeah, I think that's when she came downstairs the firs time.

    Agreed on the Olde Burnside Highland Wild. I don't know if there is a lot of bottle variation or what but our bottle just wasn't that good.