I’ve saved this treat for just such a special occasion. The last evening of a great weekend ‘up north,’ I was happy to share with family.

It poured into a tulip glass wonderfully, a solid beige head formed at about an inch, looking like a liquid bed of styrofoam. The body was dark, a mahogany, it’s edges turning even darker. The nose was malty primarily, but dosed with cherries and candied vanilla. It was like sticking my nose into a malted shake instead of a malted beer. There were, hidden deep behind the other initial notes, hints of coffee as well.

The excitement in preparation for drink this beer was mostly in the tag “barrel aged” on the side of the bottle. I have an increasing interest and taste for anything barrel aged and this one was no exception. However, the affects of the barrel aging were present in only ever so slight bits, a smoothness in the mouthfeel, and a liquor in the finish, but both done surprisingly lightly. The malts aren’t anything too exciting, but participate in making the finish very dry. Overall, it’s not as complex I was hoping, but it is a very nice ale, enough interest and definitely well built. The 10.5% is hidden extremely well, not even a warming sensation down my throat.