Style: Rum Barrel Aged Dubbel
From: Boston, MA
Brewery’s Note: “A GrandTen Distilling Medford Rum barrel aged Belgian Dubbel”
The beer pours a paler, muddled amber, sitting in the glass almost the color of a gemstone, with a middle sized head of creamy, golden yellow bubbles that leave nice roadways of thin lacing when the head leaves the sides of the glass. It’s opaque in body, full of haze, yet clean, it lets the light through, but not even the shadows of the other side of the glass. On the nose, it smells tamely sweet with soft, boozy caramel without any actual boozy bite, almonds, and a touch of spicy phenols that add character to the close of the sniff. I don’t really sense any of the rum barrel, unfortunately, and the yeast character is smooth and faint, leaving me a little puzzled at the subtlety of the smell. There is nothing displeasing, and there are lots of hints of things, but nothing really becomes distinct on the nostrils. The beer is understated in aroma. On the tongue, the beer acts similarly to the nose, leaving me feeling mellow and underwhelmed for an eight percent beer aged in rum barrels. It subtly tastes of sweet esters moving from fruity, to candied bread, to nutty, with touches of earthy vanilla. This is mixed in with very mellow herbal bitterness, and an odd touch of woodiness that does not add up with a barrel, and is more like the wooden chopsticks they give out at Chinese restaurants. This flavor blends with the nuttiness of the beer in ways that I can’t decide if I like or I don’t. The beer has subtle acidity, and a spicy phenol character that builds as the beer warms, but really, every flavor is very mellow, and while not quite watery, they seem understated. In the mouth, the beer feels medium weighted, but thin and insubstantial on the tongue, with a fluffy, full carbonation that gives the beer a wispy character. It’s quite drinkable except for the dryness on the finish, which gives some structure and astringency to the sip and reminds me the most of other dubbels. It’s a very weird beer for me, and a bit of a letdown from what I’ve come to expect from Trillium’s barrel program. It’s just too mellow, which seems stupid to complain about. I love a subtle and complex beer, but this one is so subtle that I can’t even pick out the rum character, and the esters are nearly non-existent in the beer while the spicy phenols only come out as the beer warms. I want more raisin and spice in my dubbels, but this just leaves me with subtle interests that never fully materialize. The drinkability is great, but it needs something more. This is by no means a bad beer, and it gets better the longer it lingers in the glass, but it’s just underwhelming to all of the senses.