Style: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter
10.0% ABV55 IBU’s
OG: 23.5° Plato
Aged in Old Weller 107 bourbon barrels
From: Framingham, MA
Brewer’s Note: “Big, bold, black and barrel aged. A lengthy conditioning period in bourbon barrels creates a silky smooth chocolaty mouth feel enhanced by the use of oats and brown sugar. Noticeable sweetness gets balanced by roasted malt and hop bitterness. Additional flavors include bourbon, vanilla and oak.”
The beer’s label is a classic Jack’s Abby label. It’s nice, but nothing to write home about. I’m also slightly confused by the choice of a light gray color for the background… wouldn’t an inky black color fit this beer better. The label can be scrapbooked but I wouldn’t put it on a shelf.
The beer pours an inky black with a nice had of medium sized, khaki bubbles that settle down at about a half a finger’s width, which is surprising given the beer’s 10% ABV and the fact that it was barrel aged. In body, this beer is impenetrable to the eye, and the beer’s head leaves a curtain of lacing full of slippery, small bubbles on the sides of the glass. On the nose, the beer smells of roasted black coffee and big boozy malt with touches of vanilla bourbon and slight hint of bitter hops and oak. The bourbon isn’t huge in the nose, but it is nice and blends well with the malt of the beer. On the tongue, the beer tastes boozy-bourbon sweet with just a touch of bitter roast and some slight acidic bites. In flavor, this beer speaks of booze, bourbon, and roasted malts. The flavor begins as sweet roasted malt with a touch of chocolate and honey, but this builds into practically cloying boozy bourbon with hints of vanilla and coconut, and a very strong touch of alcohol. The finish is bourbon sweet and full of boozy heat as it runs down the throat, and the aftertaste is slightly sticky sweet with lingering bourbon, coffee and chocolate, but also with alcohol hot in the deep back of the throat. In the mouth, the beer feels smooth and velvety with just a faint bite from the carbonation. It is on the light side of heavy in body and definitely carries a clean lager feel in the mouth. Where a stout of this size would have considerable grip and a chewiness, this beer is silky smooth, almost like a fine hot chocolate in feel. The mouth is, however, left sticky and wet with a lingering heat burn from the alcohol. This beer is most certainly a sipper, in case anyone was overlooking its 10% ABV. Overall, this is a good beer. It’s really a nice sipper, and is probably prime to drink in the early winter when you are looking for a bit of a warmth from your drink. Having just had 2012’s BCBS the other day, I can actually say that there is a similarity between the two, though not definitive. Framinghammer is definitely of lager stock with a beautiful and smooth mouthfeel that helps the drinkability of this beer, and it is also about 5% less in alcohol than BCBS, but it carries a nice bourbon heat and some nice bourbon flavors mixed in with thick malty flavors similar to BCBS. Personally, I would advise sitting on a bottle of this a little bit to let the booze settle down and so that it is winter, but that would probably kill some of the bourbon flavors. Right now I’m not craving the boozy beers, but I would certainly revisit this beer come late fall/early winter and I would certainly sip it in front of a fire. It is a good beer, and fantastically cheap for a bourbon barrel-aged beer. Jack’s Abby has got another great thing here, and I can’t wait to try the coffee version of this beer.