Smell – Toasted wood, chocolate, plums, slight warm alcohol. The aroma is bold, but it is is still young and a bit brash. All the elements I want in a barrel-aged stout are already here, they just need time to mellow and blend.
Taste – Similar flavors to the nose, bitter chocolate and espresso. The barrel character fills in the gaps with vanilla and toast, not dominating the malt profile. The finish is firmly bitter, split between hops and roasted grains. The lingering character is faint charcoal, almost smoky. Relatively dry for a big stout, but there is enough sweetness to prevent the bitterness from being overwhelming.
Mouthfeel – Even after a few minutes of taking photos, the carbonation is still higher than I wanted. Luckily the residual lager yeast in the barrel kicked in mostly before bottling, so carbonation is just slightly higher than I intended. The Rumble Barrel Aged Imperial Porter wasn’t so lucky. The beta glucans contributed by the rye do an admirable job suggesting a bigger body without the sweetness you’d expect from it.
Drinkability & Notes – Drinks like a stronger beer than its 1.080 OG suggests. Classic imperial stout character without the syrupy sweetness. The barrel adds a wonderful layer of complexity that is much more intriguing than I've been able to achieve with oak cubes. I'm excited to see how this one ages over the next year!