Barrel Aged Farmhouse Pale Ale (Oxbow Brewing Company)

Style: Barrel Aged Wild Saison

6.5% ABV

Batch #9

From: New Castle, ME

Brewery’s Note: “Our flagship farmhouse ale fermented in
stainless steel and aged in oak barrels.”

When the cap popped, the bottle gushed, like an overly
enthusiastic teenager… I was sad to see the nectar lost on the floor. The beer
pours a pale, chalky yellow, sort of like a lemon burst. It’s an opaque, cloudy
haze that only lets shadow pass through. The beer pours with an, unsurprisingly,
spritzy and frothy heady of slightly-off-white that last nicely, and leave a
thick, frothy mound of lacing on the sides of the glass when it passes. On the nose,
the beer’s smell is beautifully citrusy bretty. Lemon, lemongrass, hay, slight
horse blanket, subtle pineapple, a touch of lime zest, herbal spice, and a
gritty earthiness that suggests the malts and barrel below the funk. The nose
is exactly what I want in a funky saison, though the barrel is a little soft in
the beer. On the tongue, the beer tastes of softly growing acidity, and subtle
bready sweetness. The acidity definitely builds into a slight pucker in the middle,
with a nice herbal bitter that builds into the finish with just a touch of
drying tannic bitters that build more and more as you sip. The beer’s carb is
on the high end of middling with a nice scrub, while the beer’s body on the
light side of medium with a good attenuation, though there still is a little
weight left in the body. It feels fluffy, with a touch of crispness, but with a
nice touch of effervescent fierceness. When the beer leaves, the mouth feels
slightly astringent with bitter lingering that stick to the tongue. The tongue
is dry, while the very edges of the cheeks wet with saliva. In flavor, the beer
tastes of grassy lemons that move into light, wheat biscuits and bitter hay,
with herbal overtones, a faint kiss of the sea’s brackish waters, some bretty
musk, slight chlorine, a touch of orange juice, and a finish of oaky, oak, oak,
and herbal hops that stick like resin to the tongue. Overall, this is a nice
funky farmhouse ale, but it’s a touch too sweet for me. I feel like it had a
little too much sugar left behind, but only by the faintest smidgen, and I want
a little more acid in this guy to help play around with. The bitters is a little
too fresh, too. I like it, and I love my bitter hops, but I want a touch less
in a beer like this. I guess I’m picky. I like this beer, but I want a little
more from it. Perhaps age will pull it there?

 

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