2011 Bourbon Barrel Aged Grand Cru by Black Diamond

12970836_10103190864074780_7477775824459977104_o 12928205_10103190865192540_5928422493362163486_nRating: 5.5/6

2011 Bourbon Barrel Aged Grand Cru by Black Diamond is a 9% ABV Belgian Dark Strong Ale which 75% is brewed with Fruit with Vanilla Beans Added and 25% Ale is aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Label:
The designation of “Grand Cru” originates from the Burgundy region of France. Brewers have taken the term and applied to it more elaborate, aged and reserved versions of their beers. Our Belgian-style Dark Ale has been taken to the next level by the careful blending and aging techniques.

After much tinkering -with a number of unique ingredients combined with wood barrel aging- we arrived at this wonderful juxtaposition of fruitiness and maltiness which harmonized magically to produce this delicious winter warmer.

When poured, the beer has a deep mahogany hue. In the aroma, figs and dark fruit intermingle with notes from the wood barrel used, as well as subtle notes of banana and bubblegum from the fermentation process. Aging for twelve months on oak brings forth flavor of the barrel, as well as vanillin from the wood that is complemented by vanilla beans which provide a velvety smoothness and richness . The taste starts with the rich sweetness of the fruit, carries through with a rich mellow center and finishes dry, allowing for another glass as you sit by a cozy fire.

==Introduction==

I first had this beer back in 2012 for my birthday. Back then it was a beer that my brother got me as a gift. Back then I remember this one for being one for being memorable. Not only in its deliciousness but also the sentimental value since it was a gift from my brother. During a trip over to my friend Julio’s house in La Mirada California, I had visited Sammy’s VIII Liquor and they had a bottle of this aging. While the price was right, I couldn’t help but just bring it back to the site, years later after I first tried it. The artwork was really cool as well. So if it is true that the original bottle was from 2011, then I hope 5 years aged has given way to a very delicious brew. Let’s find out. Cheers!

Aromas:
Wine grapes, oak, bourbon, dark fruit berry jam on toasted rye bread, bananas, clove spice, cinnamon, Dark fruit raisins, prunes plums, figs, dark cherries, raspberries, pomegranates, currants, cranberries, Dark fruit yogurt hints, pecan pie, brown sugar, stone fruit apricots, peaches, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, toffee, milk chocolate raisins and chocolate cherry cordials.

Flavors:
Rich Dark fruit raisins, prunes plums, figs, dark cherries, raspberries, pomegranates, currants, cranberries, Wine grapes, oak, bourbon, marshmallow smore hints, stone fruit apricots, peaches, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, toffee, milk chocolate raisins, chocolate cherry cordials, port wine, raspberry chambord, dark fruit berry jam on toasted rye bread, bananas, clove spice, cinnamon, Dark fruit yogurt hints, pecan pie, flan hints and crème brulee hints.

Aftertaste:
Finishes with rich dark fruits, oak, stone fruit, mild bourbon notes, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, marshmllow and cinnamon hints. No alcohol in the taste, crimson dark murky body, smooth, velvety and mildly creamy mouthfeel with a sipping drinkability.

Overall:
An exceptional brew with lots of dark fruit forward flavors with notes of bourbon. This brew reminds me a lot of the Deschutes Anniversary ales except where those are stouts this one is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale/grandcru. Essentially, the Belgian Dark Strong version. Ofcourse, while that is leagues away from this one, I still like this one as it was a gift from my brother a long time ago. I would highly recommend it if you love fruit forward beers with notes of oak and bourbon. Especially if you can find the aged one. Cheers!

Anime Corner:
Janne D’Arc from SNK’s World Heroes was used in this brew pairing since I used her for the pairing long ago. The castle in the label of the brew reminds me of Nockmaar castle from the movie and NES game Willow. In the movie, it had a strong swordswoman named Sorsha which wore armor similar to that of Janne. While there is no anime version of Sorsha, Janne from SNK was the closest I could find. The brew colors, label and Janne bring me back to the nostalgia of the old school Willow series I loved as a child.

Sources:
http://i.imgur.com/7FyFsFu.jpg
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/jJAQbI0nirg/maxresdefault.jpg

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