Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wheat Triplebock - Final Tasting

Always hard to convince myself to open the last bottle of any batch, but I had a good excuse to pop the final Wheat Tripelbock tonight (I still have one bottle of the bourbon-soaked oaked version left). BYO wanted a better picture of the finished beer, which Nathan and I featured in an article we submitted about dark lagers for the February issue (which will be my first cover story I'm told!).

A snifter of a Wheat Triplebock, beautiful!Wheat Triplebock

Appearance – Very dark brown, bordering on black in the wide bowl of my snifter. It has red highlights when held at an angle to the light. Unsurprisingly after a few years in the bottle, the beer is crystal clear. The thin tan head has big bubbles, but still maintains excellent retention.

Smell – Rich and complex. Dominant caramel, but it doesn’t smell burnt. Dark fruit as well, but not as one-note RAISIN like Special B can be. As it warms there is a whiff of alcohol occasionally, but otherwise it is very clean. Despite its age I don’t pick up any oxidation.

Taste – Starts with the caramel and plums from the nose. The middle is dominated by dense bready/toasty malt, Munich especially. Hint of unsweetened cocoa in the finish, a nice twist on the standard dark German beer. Still tastes remarkably fresh for a beer brewed in 2008. Plenty of sweetness, but the alcohol and light roast cut through it well.

Mouthfeel – Thick and full, with soft carbonation. Really rich.

Drinkability & Notes – Much gentler and more balanced than it was a few years ago. Rather than being close to cloying the beer seems drier, despite the fading hop bitterness. This batch appears to have a lot more color than the new version I recently racked from a whisky barrel into a keg for lagering (it has 2% less Extra Dark Crystal).

If you are interested in reading the article about dark lagers, then subscribe to BYO (through my affiliate link ideally). The article includes tips from the brewer that inspired this beer (Steve Berthel of The Livery), as well as Scandinavian brewer extraordinaire Anders Kissmeyer talking Baltic porter, and unstoppable medal winning machine Jason Oliver of Devil’s Backbone and Czech-brewing-encyclopedia Evan Rail philosophizing about decoctions and tmavĂ©.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you've addressed this somewhere before, but where and at what approx temp do you age your bottled beers? I have a basement that is consistently between 55-65F, and a fridge, but I don't have room for 50 bottles of a barleywine that I want to age for a year. Thanks.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The occasional six-pack of IPA (or anything else hoppy) goes right into the fridge, everything else is stored at a constant low-60s F temperature in my barrel room. Up until a few years ago that room warmed into the low 80s during the summer, but a small A/C unit now keeps it from going above 64 F. It still gets a bit cooler in the winter, so probably very similar to your basement overall.

The colder a beer is stored, the slower it will change. So for hoppy beers, and anything else that is best fresh, the colder the better. For big beers and sours, some changes with age are positive, so I don’t mind leaving them at a warmer temperature.

Anonymous said...

Just FYI that your affiliate link is broken. It says "try again later" after I tried again later.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Should have tested it... fixed now.

turbobrewer said...

What did you pay for the 5gal whiskey barrel from the distiller and who should I talk to there about one?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The distillery contacted me and I bartered for the barrels (they're getting bottles from all the batches I age in them). The same barrels are available from a few homebrewing stores, including: