Imperial Trouble Tripel (Beer’d Brewing Company)

Style: Belgian Tripel aged in Zinfandel Wine Barrels

9.4% ABV

From: Stonington, CT

Price: Unsure/One time release

Brewery’s Note: “Aged for at least eight months in a Jonathan Edwards Zinfandel wine barrel. This formidable brew has taken on notes of the jammy wine and nuances of toasted oak.”

The beer pours a dark, orange-gold with a rouge hint that suggests the wine. The beer forms a very small head of off-white bubbles, but they swiftly fade to just a scrim, and leave little in the way of lacing. In body, the beer is surprisingly crystal clear and clean, with just enough darkness in its color to suggest a slight tweak to the eye. On the nose, the beer is richly jammy, with notes of blackberry, blueberry, strawberry jelly, and thick preserves. The wine is rich on the nose, and quite decadent, making it hard for me to pick out the beer aspects. As it warms, I start to sense hints of apricot-like esters. On the tongue, the beer tastes of soft booze, sweet esters and bready malts, and bristling oak tannin that give a rougher texture to the sip. Faint acidity folds into the sip as well, lending slight levity and complexity. In flavor, the beer tastes seems at all like the jammy decadence of the nose. There are hints of that jam on the tip of the tongue as the sip begins, though they are a little more subdued. These are quickly swept up in the oaky tannic character that treads slightly towards nettles in this particular beer, alongside soft bready malts. The finish brings a beautiful finish of tannic oak, jammy wine, and a brief flash of vanilla into play. All the flavors are rather mild, which makes the beer dangerously drinkable. As it warms, the opening flavors take on more beer-like qualities that suggest very subtle nougat, banana, clove, and cream. The aftertaste is the only displeasing part of the sip, and offers a healthy dose of bitter tannins. Fortunately these drop off quickly, and I highly suspect that with a bit of age, they would mellow beautifully into a decadent sip. In the mouth, the beer feels deceptively light in body, falling somewhere on the light side of medium, but with just a hint of weight at the back of the throat, which suggests its true size. Mouthfeel is slightly rough from the tannic bite, but insubstantial and smooth in all other aspects. Again, I feel that a bit of age will really smooth this beer out and make far too easy to sip for its weightier ABV. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left slightly astringent, but this drops off to just a dry bite. The mouth is left with a wet sheen of spittle pouring over everything, but is rather neutral overall. There definitely is a tightness to the tongue, but it doesn’t hurt the easiness of drinking the beer. Overall, I like this beer. It needs a little more age in my opinion, and it’s not the best in its class, but its ease of drinking and its rich nose are quite enticing. This is not a perfect execution, but between this and their gin barrel aged DIPA I’ve been impressed with the component parts of Beer’d Brewing’s barrel aging program. I can’t wait to see what they do in the future!

 

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