Thursday, July 7, 2016

21 Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout (review)

Beer Review #139

Easton Pennsylvania based Weyerbacher Brewing has consistently impressed me with their often eccentric and  innovative, high alcohol beers. Some of my recent reviews have included such standouts as Blasphemy Belgian Style Quadrupel Ale (review #137) and Insanity (review #126), although I have reviewed at least a half dozen others. Be sure to browse all my beer reviews HERE to read the others. Whenever I go shopping at my favorite local bottle shop - The Jolly Farmer - a small town store with an incredible revolving door selection of over 700 unique beers - my first stop is the end cap where new arrivals tend to land. When I dropped by today I was delighted to see that another Weyerbacher brew had arrived, so today I'm checking out 21 Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, a hefty imperial stout brewed with cocoa and vanilla released in honor of the company's 21st birthday. Congratulations Weyerbacher, you are now old enough to drink.

Apparently this beer is so new that they have yet to update their website, but from what I have gathered 21 Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout (as I already pointed out), is a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout brewed with cocoa and vanilla). Such a claim creates certain expectations, but for better or worse, this beer seems to fall outside those norms.

Black at first glance, 21 reveals some thinness when held to the light where red highlights appear. The pour looks good - dark cap, medium build - but dissipates in a flash with a cola like crackle (see VIDEO)

The aroma is minimal, yet mainly comprised of smokiness, and some surprisingly light- dark fruit notes (almost like a Belgian ale).

As that quickly fading head seemed to indicate, the beer is surprisingly thin for a high alcohol stout, and does not quite feel like a stout on the pallet. The taste includes more smokiness and light chocolate. Subdued vanilla also present, however given the barrel aging and added vanilla I expected it to be more dominant. Also boozy and astringent.

Many brewers would love to have a beer like this in a line-up, but by Weyerbacher standards 21, as it has been released, is a bit lack luster. But you can't fault them for the bold effort. I hope they tweak the recipe and give it another try.

Twin Tiers Beer Trail:
-Twin Tiers Craft Beer Club (Sayre)
I-86 Beer Trail
The Jolly Farmer, Waverly (Waverly)
Bluestone Brewing Company (Sayre)
- Diversion Brewing Co. (Chemung)
The Grille at the Train Station (Sayre)
River Rat Brew Trail (Central Pa)

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