Brewery: The Lost Abbey
Style: Strong Ale (Barrel-Aged)
ABV: 13.5 %
My Cost: $22 (375 mls)
Actual Cost: $15 (375 mls)
Glassware: Snifter, Teku
Purchased@: The Loft at Iron Abbey
Quick Take: It’s been a long time since I had a beer that really blew me away, but I’ve finally found one. Among the many stellar beers in Lost Abbey’s lineup, this is a bourbon-aged beer to be reckoned with, only lacking a stronger kick of coffee to put it into the stratosphere. To that point, I’m not even sure this beer was shown a picture of coffee beans let alone brewed with them. Regardless, this is the first Ultimate Box Set beer I’ve had, but it won’t be my last.
Brew Facts: This beer is part of Lost Abbey’s Ultimate Box Set, a series of 13 beers originally released in 2012 consisting of Re-Masters (barrel-aged classics), Re-Mixes (blends) and Fresh Takes (all new). Track #10 is essentially BB Serpent Stout with added coffee and cacao nibs. Apparently Older Viscosity factors in, presumably blended with Serpent Stout in some ratio, but is only given a coy, passing mention on Lost Abbey’s Track #10 Web site.
Appearance: Although the usual beer pic is absent, take my word for it, it’s dark. Imagine the color black…now imagine a glass of it. That’s pretty much what it is, but with a minor, finger-sized tan head. To quote Spinal Tap, “It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.”
Aroma: My first whiff of buttery bourbon and charred barrel wood comes with the glass still resting on the bar top in front of me. An actual sniff and images of dark malts, vanilla, chocolate and coconut run through my head. If you’ve smelled Bourbon County before, you have a good idea of what Track #10 offers, just a bit less booze and more inky sweetness. Truly delectable smelling barrel-aged beer with a ton of brown sugar. While there is some roast, I’m not picking up much coffee.
Taste/Mouth Feel: I drink it down and my tongue struggles under the weight of this thick, luxurious liquid. This is heavy with velvety malts and a near perfect body. The taste is a swirling mass of dark, chocolate malt, vanilla, caramel, roast/char and a bit of booze, but not to the medicinal burn level of something like Uncle Jacobs. The finish is warm molasses that blends with chocolate chips, closer to the semi-sweet found in ice cream than bitter baker’s chocolate. Track #10 makes for a nicely balanced, rich, indulgent bourbon beer with a drinkability that is rarely found in higher ABVs. For all the praise, I should mention that the coffee is practically a no show, so this won’t scratch that coffee itch.
Final Thoughts: It’s been a long time since I had a beer that really blew me away, but finally I’ve found one. Among the many stellar beers in Lost Abbey’s lineup, this is a bourbon-aged beer to be reckoned with, only lacking a stronger kick of coffee to put it into the stratosphere. To that point, I’m not even sure this beer was shown a picture of coffee beans let alone brewed with them.
I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention the other downer here, cost. As with many specialty Lost Abbey beers, the milliliters you get aren’t cheap. One has to wonder if using traditional bottles and simpler labels might drive it down, but that would rob Lost Abbey of its identity I suppose. Regardless, as someone that is reluctantly used to overspending for good beer, this is a purchase I’ll make any time. It’s the first Ultimate Box Set beer I’ve had, but it won’t be my last.
Recommendation: Buy on sight!