Collaboration No. 6 Barrel-Aged Blend Collaboration by Boulevard Brewing and Firestone Walker

15384523_10103789165219490_3032738358333533454_oRating: 7/7

Collaboration No. 6 Barrel-Aged Blend Collaboration by Boulevard Brewing and Firestone Walker is a 12.5% ABV American Strong Ale Cuvee of Barrel Aged Stouts and Belgian Quads.

Label:
Imperial Stout “X” Tart Cherry
Bourbon Barrel Quad
Stickee Monkee
and Velvet Merkin

For this sixth edition of our Collaboration Series, we invited Matt Brynildson, brew-master of our sister brewery Firestone Walker, to join Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels in our barrel-aging cave. Armed only with their palates, some graduated cylinders, and a bunch of tulip glasses, they arrived at the perfect balance of two barrel aged beers from each brewery. The blend celebrates the individual characteristics of each of the four while creating something entirely new and unique.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
The Collaboration series is our way to bring shared beer ideas to life with some of our favorite brewery friends from around the world. This year, we bring you a specially blended, barrel-aged beer with the help of our sister brewery in California, Firestone Walker. With Collaboration No. 6, Brewmasters Steven Pauwels and Matt Brynildson have created a big, bold flavor combination by blending two Boulevard beers and two Firestone Walker Beers in the following percentages:

Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad – 45%
Based loosely on the Smokestack Series’ The Sixth Glass, this abbey-style quadrupel is separated into a number of oak bourbon barrels where it ages for varying lengths of time, some for up to three years. Cherries are added to make up for the “angel’s share” of beer lost during barrel aging. Selected barrels are then blended for optimum flavor. The resulting beer retains only very subtle cherry characteristics, with toffee and vanilla notes coming to the fore.
ABV – 11.8, IBU – 19

Firestone Walker Stickee Monkee – 35%
Brewed with Belgian candi sugar and aged in a selection of fine bourbon barrels, Stickee Monkee trailblazes its own category as a “Central Coast Quad.” The name Stickee Monkee is a nod to the Central Coast’s native Sticky Monkey flower, as well as a shout¬‐out to the Belgian monks who pioneered the Quad style. The Belgian candi sugar imparts a signature molasses sweetness to the beer. Meanwhile, maturation in bourbon casks brings ample barrel expression with notes of toasted oak, coconut, leather and cigar tobacco.
ABV – 13, IBU – 45

Imperial Stout X – Tart Cherry (Whiskey Barrel-aged) – 10%
Our special treat for lovers of big, complex stouts, the Imperial Stout “X” series offers a year-long roster of limited releases, each with a significant variation. This riff spotlights the addition of tart cherries to fermentation as well as a lactic souring on the brewhouse. The result is a perfect marriage of robust, smoky maltiness and bracing tartness. Unlike the release version of Imperial Stout X – Tart Cherry, this portion was briefly aged in previously used whiskey barrels.
ABV – 11, IBU – 64

Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin – 10% Velvet Merkin is the beer that almost wasn’t…Indeed, this vintage oatmeal stout’s comical (or is it scandalous?) name went off the grid for several years, but now it’s back due to popular demand. Velvet Merkin is aged for a full year in retired spirits barrels from Heaven Hill, Woodford Reserve and others, yet manages to offer mind-¬boggling balance and restraint. You will wig out when you taste Velvet Merkin’s rich milk chocolate, bourbon and espresso flavors, preceded by aromas of vanilla, coconut, toasted oak and mocha. ABV – 8.5, IBU – 33

==Introduction==

Just when I thought I’d never see something like this, I was really amazed. At first I saw it as a Boulevard and Firestone Walker collab but when I realized that it was a Cuvee of some of both breweries best beers, I realized that this was a must get. I have reviewed each of these beers in the past, except for the Tart Cherry Stout X but the other ones were definitely at that World Class tier beers. So being that Firestone Walker was involved, I knew this would of came up to possibly be one of the best and unique Cuvees. Now, we can only hope that this is the case, let’s have a sip, cheers!

Aromas:
Grilled Bananas, Banana Sunday, clove spice, fruit cake, wine grapes, cinnamon, pecan pie, hazelnut nectar, Rich Dark Cherries, Dark fruit, prunes, plums, figs, raspberries, currants, Dark chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Ferrero Rocher Chocolate, German Chocolate, Belgian Chocolate, Chocolate mousse, tobacco hints, molasses, stone fruits, Oatmeal Cookies, Oreo Cookies and Cream, graham cracker, Marshmallow smores and mocha.

Flavors:
Rich Dark Cherries, Dark fruit, prunes, plums, figs, raspberries, currants, bourbon, whiskey, brandy, oak, Belgian Candi sugar, rock candy, piloncillo sugar cone, maple syrup, waffle cones, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, Grilled Bananas, Banana Sunday, clove spice, fruit cake, wine grapes, cinnamon, pecan pie, hazelnut nectar, rye bread with mixed berry preserves, Oatmeal Cookies, Oreo Cookies and Cream, graham cracker, Marshmallow smores, mocha, Flan, Sweetened condensed milk, tres leches cake, Dark chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Ferrero Rocher Chocolate, Belgian Chocolate cake, German Chocolate, Belgian Chocolate, Chocolate mousse, Cherry Chocolate cake, walnut pie, toasted coconut, Stone fruit peaches, leather and tobacco hints.

Aftertaste:
Finishes dark cherries, vanilla, dulce de leche, oatmeal cookies, dark fruits, stone fruits, dark chocolate, Belgian candi sugar, marshmallows, tobacco hints and rye. No alcohol in the taste. Dark Crimson Amber full body, smooth, creamy, velvety, chewy and syrupy mouthfeel and sipping drinkability.

Overall:
The Quad aspect takes over more than the stout blend but even that being the case, it does not change this from being a definite bucket lister in my mind. Having Firestone Walker who are experts at barrel aging and cuvee blending, this is no surprise that this came out the way it did. The complexity of the 2 Belgian Quads and the 2 Stouts collide into a super decadent dessert that really has taken things to another level. I highly recommend this one for those that are fans of these breweries, beers and styles! This is one for the masses!

Anime Corner:
Ryuko Matoi from Kill La Kill, Kos-mos from Xenosaga, Yoruichi Shihouin from Bleach and Temari Sabakuno from Naruto were chosen as I wanted to represent the 4 awesome beers blended in this special cuvee to 4 awesome characters. What a better way to pair than to pair with the most epic forms for my favorite 4 girls from anime. In this instance I used Ryuko as the Tart Cherry X Stout as the colors of cherry pair, KOS-MOS is the BBQuad since quads are holy ambrosia of gods and she is angelic, Yoruichi is the Velvet Merkin as she is deep, magical and mysterious and finally, Temari is the Stickee Monkee as she represents the colors of the actual flower that grows along the central coast.

 

Smokestack Series Chocolate Ale by Boulevard Brewing

1013345_10101694082327400_1405826777_n 1962754_10101694082701650_1729149984_n 1958463_10101694081204650_634359598_n IMAG6036Rating: 5/5

Smokestack Series Chocolate Ale by Boulevard Brewing is a 9.1% ABV American Strong Ale brewed with cocoa.

Label:
One of the brightest stars in a city filled with culinary treasures, Christopher Elbow has world wide reputation for handcrafted masterpieces. His sweets are distinguished by their use of unusual, sometimes surprising ingredients, and that adventurous spirit has left its print on this special ale. The aroma is given over to earthy, fruity, cocoa, with just a hint hops. Smooth layers of dark chocolate intertwine with threads of caramel, vanilla, and nutty malt as the flavor warms and rounds to a bitter sweet finish. 
___

Picked this up at the local Ramirez Liquor in Boyle Heights California. Chocolate ales are something that definitely bring my attention. I cannot help it as they really are my favorite types of beers. Sometimes there is a Bias for chocolate beers in my reviews, but you can definitely tell. So take it with a grain of salt and try them for yourself to decide. As far as this beer goes, I was surprised by the color. This was not your typical dark beer.

Aromas:
Citrus, dark chocolate, rye bread, dark chocolate, caramel, very mild earthy hops, cinnamon, peanut butter, vanilla, bananas, clove spice, cocoa crispies cereal, hazelnut, pecans, tootsie roll, brown sugar and molasses.

Flavors:
Dark Chocolate, milk chocolate, champurrado flavor, bakers chocolate, caramel, candi sugar, cinammon, earthy spices, bananas, cloves, chocolate cake, peanut butter hints, rye bread, mild flan notes, cocoa crispies or cocoa puffs cereal, citrus, mild dark fruits, tootsie rolls and white chocolate.

Aftertaste:
Chocolate, mild bittering earthy hops in the finish but mainly cinnamon and caramel linger. No alcohol in the taste. A sipping beer with a medium mouth feel.

Overall:
A perfect beer but you definitely need to let it warm up to get richer chocolate flavor. It is very different at first because it falls somewhere between the colors of chocolate rain and white chocolate from the Bruery (Beer Color only). A light brown per say. The flavor is not as exceptional but it falls somewhere in the middle in terms of beer color because although I was expecting a darker beer, the lighter beer aspect still lets the chocolate shine in this beer which was very surprising. This beer is not specifically chocolate but you can tell chocolate is still there. My extra credit can only do so much for the chocolate in this beer but it may not be enough to exceed my expectations like other chocolate beers. Still recommended and worth a try.

Anime Corner:
Korra from the Legend of Korra was used in this pairing because while fits in the style of my favorite character, Yoruichi, I wanted to portray an in between chocolate and white chocolate type of beer. Her wearing the outfit from Kill La Kill shows the strength of the beer as it warms up. The more she shines the more she becomes powerful. Chocolate is sexy so she definitely shines in that aspect too . This is a rare release too so she is a very rare character sometimes in these reviews .

Smokestack Series Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ) by Boulevard Brewing

1379780_10101445795780630_1913651140_nRating: 5.35/5

Smokestack Series Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ) by Boulevard Brewing is an 11.8% ABV Belgian Quadrupel divided into 16% ale and 84% aged in bourbon barrels with cherries

Label: 
Based loosely on the Smokestack Series’ The Sixth Glass, this abbey-style quadrupel is separated into a number of oak bourbon barrels where it ages for varying lengths of time, some for up to three years. Cherries are added to make up for the “angel’s share” of beer lost during barrel aging. Selected barrels are then blended for optimum flavor. The resulting beer retains only very subtle cherry characteristics, with toffee and vanilla notes coming to the fore.
___

Limited release of this beer and I was able to find this one online on many of the supporters beerpulse.com has. I heard great things about this beer. Not only is it a quad, which is one of my favorite styles of beer, but also bourbon barrel aged. It is essentially the Sixth Glass in bourbon barrels with cherries

Aromas cherries, rich vanilla, bourbon, dulce de leche caramel, pecans, dark fruits like raisins, plums, figs, oak, wine grapes, port wine, good cheese and wine, flan, cinnamon, rye bread, earthiness, bananas, clove, funky notes and brandy

Flavors are of cherries, bourbon, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, wine grapes, oak, dark fruits, raisins, figs, bananas, flan, brandy, good wine and cheese, cinnamon, brown sugar, candied sugar, dark cherries, pecan pie, walnuts and tart raspberry

Aftertaste is like a wine and fancy cheese glazed with dark fruit spread on rye bread. Oh yeah, and bourbon too. A definite sipper with alcohol presence but not present in the flavor.

Overall, the beer is freaking great. Fancy and delicious. It does not taste like BBQ but I am absolutely certain it sure pairs marvelously with a BBQ Chicken or Pork dinner. This is delicious as hell. Boulevard makes some awesome beers and I have only had the privilege to try few as they are from Colorado. Many will come soon. As far as this beer goes, it is definitely recommended. Yes it passes the extra credit course!!

The Sixth Glass by Boulevard Brewing

Rating: 5/5

The Sixth Glass by Boulevard Brewing, part of their smokestack series is a 10.5%ABV Quadrupple Ale. Considered a world class beer, brewed year round.

Label:

“Do you know what dwells in a glass?” asks Ole, in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Watchman of the Tower. Better known for stories such as The Little Mermaid, Andersen wrote this short, cautionary tale for a somewhat older audience. Our quadrupel ale, also meant for the mature connoisseur, is a deep and mysterious libation, dark auburn and full-bodied, its sweetness deceptive. As Ole describes the glasses in turn, their contents become more ominous until, in the sixth glass… 

Ah yes….an awesome Belgium quad. What can I say I am a sucker for this beer style. Bread, dulce de leche caramel, dark fruits like raisins, plums, figs….wtf? Coffee notes? Oh :O….this is new…and pleasant I should add. Maybe there is something more ominous about this beer and why it is considered connoisseur world class :P. Some orange, cocoa, vanilla, candied sugars, cherries, bananas, roasted marshmallow, and graham crackers wow. LOL Belgian Smores anyone??

Overall it is a damn fine Belgian quad. Seems like it is definitely hyped for a beer coming from the Midwest. Saw this one when I was in Iowa visiting my friend Steve earlier in the Summer. Worth the try if you can find it 😛