Monday, March 4, 2013

Hinterland Brewery - Bourbon Barrel Doppelbock

From Hinterland:

"Our Bourbon Barrel Doppelbock pours a dark amber with an ample, two finger khaki head. Aromas of bourbon and caramel fill the nose. The taste of bourbon oak and caramel fill the palette and finishes smooth. This brew was aged 10 months in bourbon barrels."

Before I start to review this I have to mention the process of getting this bottle open.  I didn't know what to expect when I bought this bottle and I was checking out other reviews for it and everyone noted that getting the cap off was a big hassle due to the wax.  This was spot on.  10 minutes later and I finally got the cap off after torquing the bottle opener as hard as I could AFTER I cut away some of the wax.  Do they not want me to drink this?


After our little fight the beer poured a reddish brown into the glass and once in the glass looks like a dark red that is really hazy.  I got a two finger head with an aggressive pour and dissipated after about a minute but left some very nice tight soapy like bubbles on the top.  I can honestly say that I have never had a barrel aged doppelbock but this looks very nice.  I love the hazy color of it and the soapy bubbles really excite me for whatever reason.

I can smell the beer before I even put it to my nose.  Two feet away from the glass and I'm getting big barrel and bourbon notes which is a nice reward so far after the struggle of getting into the glass itself.  The biggest aromas I am getting are that of vanilla, some nice oak, and a lot of caramel.  A tiny bit of dark fruit in there as well but is definitely not leading the way.  This is a bourbon barrel bomb and the aroma is just really awesome in my opinion.  The vanilla and caramel aroma really make me think this is going to be a sweet beer.  It reminds me a lot of Mother of All Storms from Pelican Brewing.  Big barrel notes and a big sweetness on the nose.  Some people aren't a fan of really sweet beers but I am if it is done right.  This smells amazing so I'm hoping the taste follows suit.  Here we go!

Wow.  I'm not sure what this is.  A slight bit of bread and dark fruit.  Real subtle barrel notes that verge on non-existent.  There is a bitterness on the finish as well as a bright fruit note.  I wasn't expecting too much but this is just not doing it for me.  It is very watery in the mouth and I am not getting too much of anything.  I thought the barrel notes would be a lot bigger given how impressive the aroma was.  If I had to take a guess on why this is disappointing me so much is because of how thin it is.  The flavors just seem to slide right over my tongue instead of getting stuck on my taste buds and letting me actually taste it.  On the very front of the tongue when it first hits I get a nice sweetness from it that gets me excited for what is to come and then all that follows is nothing to be honest.  

I'm not going to say this is terrible, because it's not.  It is really thin and leads to very subtle flavors all around and nothing really sticks out.  I really want to like this since it was fairly inexpensive but I can't see myself buying this again or recommending it to anyone.  I'll finish the bottle but that is it.  I guess for $6.50 this isn't a terrible option if you are looking for a "sessionable" barrel aged beer (since it is only 7.4%) but that is where the good idea stops.  It boils down to this; one of the best smelling beers I have had in recent memory but the mouthfeel is lacking.  With a touch more feel on this I may end up loving this beer but not right now.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

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