20th Anniversary Ale by Ommegang

Rating: 7/7

20th Anniversary Ale by Ommegang is an 11.5% ABV Belgian Dark Strong Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Label:

==Introduction==

This one totally came from left field. I wasn’t until I found it at QualityLiquorStore.com that I stumbled upon this one. The last time I tried and reviewed an Anniversary ale from Ommegang was the XV edition. Ommegang is one of my favorite breweries. Back when I first started beer reviews in 2010, The Three Philosophers which was introduced by my friend Chino was a beer I loved so much, that I wanted to try more of Ommegang’s beer. Fast Forward to this day and they have become one of my favorite Belgian inspired breweries out there. Their brews are just like Belgian ales its crazy. Granted, they are owned by Duvel, but just the better. The beers from them have been some of my all time favorites and to this day, of the common 3 best beers in the world, Three Philosophers is one of my favorites! So let’s take a look at their bourbon barrel aged Dark ale. This is such a great opportunity as I don’t think I have ever had a bourbon barrel aged beer from them. Let’s see, cheers!!

Aromas:
Rich bananas, clove spice, phenolics, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, Belgian chocolate, dark fruits, fruit cake, dark candi sugar, piloncillo sugar cone, marshmallow smores, ginger bread, flan, waffle cone, hone, bourbon, oak, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, apples, peppercorn, dark candi sugars and raisin bread pudding

Flavors:
Super rich dark fruit, raisins, plums, figs, cherries, blueberries, currants, burnt sugar, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, Dark candi sugar, piloncillo sugar cone, marshmallow smores, ginger bread, 
cola, molasses, anise, mint, rock candy, tiramasu coffee, dark chocolate, Belgian chocolate, milk chocolate, bananas, clove spice, phenolics, stone fruit peach, apricot, mango, port wine, raisins bread pudding, grapes, cane sugar, flan, sweetened condensed milk, butterscotch, rye bread honey, coriander hints, bourbon, oak, almond joy chocolate, toasted coconut, rocky road ice cream, peppercorn spice hints, candied apples, maple syrup hints, waffle cone, raspberry and dark cherry chocolate cake. 

Aftertaste:
Finishing with rich dark fruits, dulce de leche caramel, bourbon, oak, stone fruit, vanilla, bananas, anise, rocky road ice cream, chocolate and port wine hints. No alcohol in the taste despite the high ABV. Dark Amber brown full body, smooth, creamy, velvety and chewy mouthfeel along with a sipping drinkability.

Overall:
Alot of the rating for this beer comes from the love I have for this brewery. The makers of some of the best Belgian inspired brews that even one of their commons, the Three Philosophers, is among one of my top common 3 beers in the world. This one almost feels like a throw back to Art of Darkness, a Belgian Dark Strong ale that I had so long ago and one that I still have aging hoping to one day open once again. Essentially, if they took that beer and aged it in Bourbon, it would be this. Heck if Unibroue took Trois Pistoles and aged it in bourbon, it be close to this too. It is definitely an exceptional brew that is very rich in dark phenolics I love in Belgians along with what I love from the bourbon barrel aged brews. If you love Belgians and BBA brews, you can’t go wrong with this amazing masterpiece!

Anime Corner:
Freya Crescent from Final Fantasy IX/9 was used in this pairing as I was mainly going for a somewhat medieval feel like many of the brews from Ommegang give the feel of. Since this was a special occasion, I wanted to use her just like I did one of my favorite dragon beers, the Italian Monteggioco Draco. There isn’t much in terms of colors to tribute but an awesome character to an awesome beer!

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Evening Vespers by Laughing Monk Brewing

Rating: 5/5

Evening Vespers by Laughing Monk Brewing is a 7.1% ABV Belgian Dubbel

Description:
A classic Belgian style Dubbel with notes of dried fruits and chocolate emanate from the glass. Pleasant flavors of Plum, Dates, and Raisins hit the palate with an undertone of chocolate and bready notes. Lingering finish holds similar flavors to the palate, with a more accentuated bready note.

Damn, burnt candy sugar and Smokey notes, maple dark fruit, bananas clove spices and lots of awesomeness

2014 Preservation Series Oaked Old Richland by The Bruery

10881673_10102260551498640_1215265056226552938_n 10873492_10102260551962710_1812467087028492704_o 1973946_10102260552491650_3738902779129797754_oRating: 5/5

2014 Preservation Series Oaked Old Richland by The Bruery is an 11.1% ABV Hoppy American Barley Wine aged in Wine Oak Barrels.

Label:
Our version of an American Barleywine, Old Richland is quite hoppy with a caramel-like malt base that finishes with a hint of woodiness. Best when consumed fresh as the hop character will dimminish with age.

==Introduction==

Obtained through the Preservation Society membership which is the one that sends 3 beers quarterly. Now since this is the last one of the year and only one sent per membership, I wanted to bring this one forward as this was the last one they released for the year in general. This one is a hoppy barley wine so I assume it will be nothing like the MASH series and more of it’s own beer. The fact that they used a variety of hops (Simcoe, Centennial and Sterling) may make this one super hoppy. The aging in thw ine oak barrels may bring out some of that hidden fruitiness though. We will see, come follow me and let’s take a close look, cheers!

Aromas:
Strong herbal, floral, citrus, piney, grassy and grapefruit hops, vanilla, oak, toffee, caramel, roasted peanuts, peanut butter roast hints, smokey oak, brown sugar, old mango, pineapple, peppercorns, marshmallow smore hints, wine grape hints, almond, pecans, stone fruit apricots, rye bread, leather, passion fruit, honey dew melon and dragon fruit.

Flavors:
Citrus, Piney, Grassy, Grapefruit and floral hops, vanilla, caramel, oak, toffee, apples, smoke hints, graham cracker smores, old mango, pine apple, dragon fruit, honey, stone fruit apricots, rye bread, lemon peel, almond, pecans, earthy hops, marshmallow hints, peppercorn, floral notes, herbs, peanut butter hints, roasty peanuts, wine grapes, orange preserves, honey dew melon and passion fruit hints.

Aftertaste:
Such a bitter and hoppy finish definitive of the barley wines, caramel, oak, toffee, peanuts, vanilla, earthy, piney and citrus hops linger for a bit. No Alcohol in the taste, clear to medium amber brown body, moderate to sipping drinkability and slightly syrupy yet smooth mouthfeel.

Overall:
True to that west coast style Barley wine. Drinks almost like a malty IPA but with lots of hoppy goodness going for it. Quite frankly, I think this is the most hoppy I have ever had from the Bruery and typically, they say no to IPAs or bitter beers. Despite the fact that the wine oak is subtle due to the HOP Super Presence. You still get notes of it.. Such a great beer and best fresh too as this is possible the freshest I have had from them (hop wise). If you would like this beer, I am unsure if you need to trade for it or if they will have extras like they did with Ignis Fatuus which hopefully they will. I can definitively recommend this one if you love close to IPA hopped Barleywines.

Anime Corner:
Freya Crescent from Final Fantasy 9 was brought back for this pairing with the Bruery since she is a favorite character of mine from the series. I this pairing I tried to pair with the colors of the label but also the flavors of the beer. Freya has the perfect colors of the beer as well as the sweet caramel flavors. She is ready for battle to decimate the flavors of the palate with a barrage of sweet and Bitter hops. You can see this from the greens of her clothing which represents the hops and the reds the caramel. The Oak as seen in the armored purple version of Freya brings forth the flavors of the wine and dark fruit like characters while the floating javelins represent the onslaught of hop madness inducing the taste buds all at once and yet being alleviated by the malty sweetness which is poured in like rain.

Sources:
http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g289/Aevitas7/Final%20Fantasy/freya_thief.png
http://oi59.tinypic.com/veci2g.jpg

2009 Birra Artigianale Draco (5 year aged) by Birrificio Montegioco

10583940_10102017681926210_657510507677618174_n 10609527_10102017682530000_5964678051733629388_nRating: 6/5

2009 Birra Artigianale Draco (5 year aged) by Birrificio Montegioco is an 11% ABV Beertilla/Mirtilla/ Italian Belgian Strong Dark Ale brewed with Blueberries.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Draco has a dark red color and a persistent head. It is full bodied and has a moderate level of carbonation. The nose shows a great complexity with aromas of honey, caramel and forest fruits. The hops brings out pepper and plum. The initial taste confirms the nose with notes of caramel and initial sweetness. The finish is a fine balance of hops and bitter notes. Draco is produced using a mix of select malts. The beer is fermented three times. During the second fermentation the blueberries are added along with the yeast and malt sugar. The alcoholic content obtained from the fermentation of the malt is of 8.5% by volume, while the final one is 11% by volume.
______

A tribute review to an old favorite which was brewed in 2009 and kept hidden in the dungeon of Nubisanctum never to see the light of day until now. Draco has awaken and wants revenge on my palate. This was the first beer I have tried from Italy back in 2011 which had a really awesome dragon label. The fact that the beer had blueberries and a Belgian Strong Dark Ale was enough for me to definitely go out of my way to find it. I had bought 2 bottles back in 2011 and decided to keep one hidden. Back then I did not know the beer had already been 2 years old but at that time it was damn good. Trying it again 5 years later is what is definitely worth the wait in gold. If you can somehow find this amazing bottle, that would be awesome as I am not sure if this is still brewed anymore. Good Luck and Cheers!…or at least I will need it to tame this beast!

Aromas:
Rich Dulce de leche caramel covered blueberry muffin, dark fruit raisins, plum, raspberry, dark cherries, figs, raisin bread pudding, flan, bananas, clove spice, bourbon, vanilla, marshmallow, port wine, pecan pie, hazelnut, crème brulee, toffee, rye bread, stone fruit peaches, apricots, apples, peppercorn, rock candy, dark candi sugar, blueberry cheesecake, blueberry yogurt, wine grapes, tart currants, brown sugar, sour apples and honey.

Flavors:
Rich dulce de leche caramel, blueberry muffin, blueberry cheesecake, caramel sour apple, Danish cream, dark fruit raisins, tart currant skins, plums, raspberries, figs, raisin bread pudding, notes of bourbon, marshmallow, chocolate hints, graham crackers, brown sugar, flan, bananas, pecan pie, clove spice, port wine, peppercorn, toffee, rye bread, rock candy, dark candi sugar, biscuit bread, honey comb, hazelnut, wine grapes, honey, stone fruit peaches, apricots, dragon fruit, dark cherry yogurt, matured apples and dried blackberries.

Aftertaste:
Blueberries, pecan pie, caramel, earthy notes, rye bread, bananas and vanilla linger. No alcohol in the taste. Sipping yet smooth drinkability, Dark gold and amber full body, mildly syrupy mouthfeel.

Overall:
Aged has done this old reliable some great justice. Reminding me a lot of Trois Pistoles if Trois Pistoles had gone Gold and amber. The beer has become more smooth than the last time I remember it and a lot more dark fruit forward as well but creating a greater complexity of flavors as well. It is more dangerous as well since you need to take your time with it. This elusive beer is one that was rare top favorite of my and still holds its place as on of the best despite what other reviewers say. I think the problem is that not many people have tried this beer to get to really know it. Specially if they can find a vintage one like this one. Highly recommended for sure! Just like I mentioned in my original review:

“Dragons are legendary, stories of fairy tale, but trust me they do exist and the magic brew they make is friggin’ awesome!! If you ever spot one like this…take it…it really is a nice magic potion….”

Anime Corner:
Freya Crescent from Final Fantasy IX was used in this pairing as the last since I wanted to pair what goes great with Dragons and in this case, Dragoons. Freya is a lone Dragooness having to do many deeds for her kingdom harvesting the power of the dragons. Her story is a sad one but she lives to reclaim herself in a world with turmoil and has many friends to help her. While Freya herself is on an anthropomorphic rat and not a dragon per say, she fairs well with the dragons as awesome creatures of legend and lore. Or at least in the sense of final fantasy. She not only pairs well with the beer herself in terms of the colors of the label, the flavors being ingredients and their colors but also a rarity that is much more beautiful skin deep and aged than when the original beer came out. Freya is one of my favorite Dragooness’s, Lady of the Dragons!

Sources:
http://blog-imgs-27.fc2.com/s/i/z/sizurueuphoric/freija1.jpg
http://www.zerochan.net/full/928329