Friday, March 26, 2010
Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad
For this session, I felt like doing a really big beer. Something strong and packed with flavor. I decided to search in the back of my fridge where I've been saving some bombers and 750's of special beer. I took out a few to consider which to taste, but one was strongly calling out to me: Boulevard's Bourbon Barrel Quad. The description on the label tells me this beer is exactly what I'm looking for. A Belgian quadruple first aged on cherries, then aged again in bourbon barrels. That takes care of the flavor. And the strength? A nice big 11.8% ABV!
This beer is from Boulevard's premium beer line, the Smokestack Series. It's also a limited release, not one of the staple beers in the series. I apparently purchased bottle number 6,082 out of a total 11,248 produced. It's kind of a cool feeling to know that you're drinking one of a limited number of beers.
I am very excited to try this beer, so let's open it up. This is a cork and cage setup. Alright, untwist the wire cage and take it off. OK, time to twist the cork out nice and easy. Unnngh, errrgh. It barely moved. OK, lets try that again. Rrraaahh, oooomph. I think it moved a little more... Man, this thing doesn't want to come out! I have to resort to 5 minutes of wiggling, twisting, and pulling that cork until finally — POP! It's been freed from the bottle! As I shake the cramp out of my hand, I know I'm going to appreciate this beer even more because of the hard labor it took to open it.
I gently pour this 750 ml bottle into my goblet. It's quite easy to generate a lovely, 2-finger head. It looks light tan and quite frothy. Slowly, it dwindles into a 1-finger layer that just wants to hang around. This head has some staying power! The body is murky and has a reddish copper color. I can see some very fine bubbles floating to the top.
I give the goblet a spin and take a whiff. I smell some sugary sweetness and sour fruit, along with a good spiciness. It has a very dry, alcoholic quality. As it should, due to the ABV. I'm also getting a bit of the bourbon in there.
Man, this tastes good. Rich malt that has a hint of brown sugar. I'm getting some good spice, probably due to the yeast. There are slight hints of cherry and bourbon. It's also boozy, but not at all harsh. The flavors hang on for a good while, to tide me over until the next sip.
There is a velvety mouthfeel that is luxurious. Carbonation is fairly low on the tongue, and the beer is gently warming me as I drink. Lacing on the glass is giving me something to look at while I enjoy the flavor.
This beer is awesome. Rich and decadent like a quad should be, along with the welcome addition of tart cherry and oaky bourbon flavors. Absolutely delicious. It was definitely worth the work it took to get the cork out! Be careful with this one though, as I'm already feeling it. This beer will kick your butt if you're not careful!