Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Whisky Barrel Sour Cherry Brown: Tasting

Sometimes the timing of a tasting gets away from me. I posted about the raspberry-rum half on this “Double Barrel” sour brown back in 2013; now finally getting around to the half that was aged in a Balcones Single Malt Whisky barrel and then on homegrown sour cherries from Audrey’s parents!

Whisky-Cherry Sour Brown

Glass of sour-cherry whisky-barrel-aged brown ale!Appearance – Glowing fire-red when back-lit! Pristine clarity. Head retention is exceptional for an aged-out sour beer.

Smell – Hints of cherry-cola. Some mild age-perfume, but otherwise unharmed by the ravages of time. Subdued Brett-funk, more towards the Cascade Brewing model (as was the bourbon barrel that the culture came from).

Taste – Cherry has aged nicely: skins, pits, dried fruit, really concentrated. The malic acid from all those cherries certainly adds acidic sharpness on the front of the tongue compared to straight lactic. Just a hint of acetic, despite the four months in a five-gallon barrel (with its high surface-to-volume ratio). Graham cracker maltiness is subdued, but present. Slight buttery oak-coconut in the finish. Dry, but with a suggestion of malty-sweetness left to carry the big/dark flavors.

Mouthfeel – Medium-thin body, medium-low carbonation. About what I hope for in a dark sour, nothing to detract from the richness.

Drinkability & Notes – One of the best cherry beer I’ve brewed! I often find this most-singular fruit dominates pale beers, so I tend to prefer it against a maltier red or brown backdrop. The barrel adds nice complementary flavors without being too out-in-front. I’ll have to get around to tasting the fruit-less versions of these two soon…


Newton said...

Awesome, looks great. I picked up a 5 gallon balcones barrel a few months back and have been wanting to put my first batch in it. Can you share how you used the barrel as Im concerned that the barrel will quickly overwhelm a beer in its current state (only aged for 8 months with bourbon)

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

You can go back through the old posts if you want all the details, but I just timed beers to run them through quickly. This was the third beer in the barrel after two strong/dark beers that sucked much of the character out of the wood.

Unknown said...

I live in Baltimore and can help you crush your awesome expirements!!