Style: Double India Pale Ale aged in Gin Barrels
From: Stonington, CT
Brewery’s Note: “Aged for at least six months in a Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ethereal Gin Barrel. Realization, our pine & grapefruit forward DIPA marries with the floral & botanical gin characteristics, creating a concoction sure to please beer & spirit drinkers alike.”
The beer pours a sickly, oranging yellow color, and forms a creamy head of eggshell-white bubbles with decent retention. When splashed against the sides of the glass, the head leaves very slippery lacing that stays as mere spatters of thin tendrils on the glass. In body, the beer is clean and deceptively murky, with a translucent appearance from afar, yet near-opacity from up close. On the nose, the beer smells of sticky caramel malts spiced with herbal mint and grass. Splashes of pepper, peppermint, and basil tingle across the nostrils. As it warms, definite oak sugars and subtle toasted oak waft into the nose. It almost smells like a minty marshmallow soaked in mild alcohol. As it warms further, the minty spiciness occasionally changes to isopropyl alcohol scents with distinctly spearmint and peppermint notes. This is a hugely complex nose from the barrel aging, and really quite fascinating, though I’m not sure if I’m a fan of it or not… On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet up front, with herbal/medicinal bitterness slowly building into a crescendo in the finish, while soft acidity and bitter tannin move in on the finish. Further sips reveal spicy gin-based booze in the middle and finish of the sip. In flavor, the beer begins as mallow, slight nougat, and soft toasted oak flavors. This transitions into a spicy mint flavor with herbal bitterness and splashes of lemon-juice and bitter pine. These flavors continue into the finish where you see an oh-so-faint pop of fusel alcohol alongside further botanical and mallow flavors that have my tongue thinking mint marshmallows. The aftertaste is of gin soaked oak, though the oak is more prevalent than the subtle gin. The taste certainly deepens as the drink warms up. The barrel is really putting some unique character into the beer. In the mouth, the beer feels a bit too full bodied, yet with a slightly thin, structured and luxuriously smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation is weak but present. Once the beer leaves, the tongue is left sticky with resin/oak tannin, while the cheeks only have slight pools of spittle in their far reaches, and everywhere else seems dry. Overall, I am thoroughly intrigued by this beer, and impressed by the barrel integration, but I’m not sure I like it. This is most assuredly a beer to sip slowly and pick apart as it warms, and I personally feel it is dying for a light, spicy cigar to sit beside it. As is, the integration of barrel and beer is quite interesting, if a touch heavy and on the side of the barrel and booze. The beer flavors are unique, but I am admittedly not the biggest gin fan, so I’m not as wild as I could be about them. I do wish for a bit more of the hop bite up front in the sip to help lighten up the drinkability, but in the end this is a well-executed beer. It’s very heavy, and meant to be shared, but it is unique and impressive. Beer’d is putting out some fascinating beers, and is well worth a visit and a sampling.