Style: Blended Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Brewery’s Note: “Crafted to commemorate 25 years of brewing, Long Trail’s limited edition 25th Anniversary Ale is a barrel-aged stout that weighs in at 9% ABV./ We blended a bourbon barrel-aged batch of our recently retired Brewmaster Series Imperial Porter with a rye whiskey barrel-aged iteration of Culmination, our dark chocolate porter released under the Brush & Barrel Series./ A ‘young’ batch of Imperial Stout was brewed and blended with the barrel-aged beers to infuse a fresh, roasty character./ The beer combines a mellowness drawn from long aging on wood with the bright flavor of fresh stout to create a complex beer fit for celebrating 25 trailblazing years of Vermont craft brewing.”
The beer pours a deep, chocolaty, mocha-brown with a small head of creamy-turning-to-khaki bubbles that wither away to a scrim. When you make do the swirly thing, it leaves quick, sliding sheets that slip back into the beer almost as quickly as the rest of the beer. This beer is an opaque mystery with nothing coming through, though it does appear a touch lighter in color than others in the style, which is alluring in its own right. On the nose, the beer smells of musty oak, rich nuts and smooth chocolate. It’s a decidedly sweet nose, with creamy undertones, and touches of peanut butter. Nothing quite stands out in the smell, yet all the scents are rich and pleasant. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet, though never cloying, starting with dark fruit sweetness that moves into sweet booze before being nipped lightly by bitter herbs and a touch of barrel that is a little soft for my taste. The aftertaste is where the earthy oak makes its largest play, and there’s a definite dark fruit acidity to the start of the sip that boarders on tart, and actually works very nicely with the beer as a whole. In flavor, with that dark fruit opening, the beer starts as grape soda with a splash of strawberries that move to chocolate, then sweet whiskey with a drying avalanche of subtle coffee roast, graphite, earth and smooth oak. The finish is a lovely tango of oak and graphite, which I find quite pleasant. In the mouth, the beer feels decidedly light for the style, sitting on the crux between a medium and heavy bodied beer. It has smooth, almost oozing mouthfeel, yet has a rougher tumble over the tongue. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left dry and sticky with nice saliva pouches developing in the cheeks and oozing outwards. Overall it’s a nice beer. Nothing to blow you away with, and not quite enough booze for the cool bit of wax sealing they put on the bottle (the bottle looked great, by the by). The tartness at the beginning was really what made this interesting, but I’m not sure if it was supposed to be there or not. In the end, it’s a good middle of the road barrel aged impy. Nothing to blow you away, but no notable flaws. Good to drink.