Friday, June 3, 2011
Brau Brothers Bancreagie Peated Scotch Ale
If you've been watching Brau Brothers over the last few months, you may have noticed some new things happening to their line-up. First, they recreated and replaced 2 of their year-round beers (which I believe worked out for the better on both counts). More recently, they introduced a whole new brew to their annual group; one that is a departure from any style they've produced before. I think this is great news and shows that things are going well for this growing Minnesota brewer.
In this session, I'll be sitting down with 1 of their 2 new year-round replacements: Bancreagie Peated Scotch Ale. This brew takes over for their old Scotch Ale, which was the first Brau Bros beer I had ever tasted. To create this new recipe, they used Scottish-grown Maris Otter barley malt, a controlled portion of peat-smoked malt, Golding and Willamette hops, and Edinburgh yeast. It weighs in with 7.6% ABV and 20 IBUs. Let's get to it!
I pour the 12 ounce bottle into my tulip glass and get a rapidly building off-white head that peaks at 1.5 fingers. It then quickly shrinks and breaks up into a few tiny, thin patches of foam. The color of the body is similar to dark maple syrup and has some lovely hints of ruby.
The smell of toasted biscuits and dark dried fruits dominate the aroma. There is smoke present in the nose as expected, but it's surprisingly subtle. Just a touch of alcohol scent rounds it all out.
Flavors? They're there, and are quite nice. Rich caramel and English toffee combine with a flavor similar to grilled peaches (yes, I have eaten a grilled peach before - good stuff). Then, the wonderfully balanced peat smoke comes through nicely without becoming overpowering. There is minimal bitterness at the finish, but along with the smoke it's just enough to keep things from getting too sweet.
This beer's medium viscosity is stickier than I expected, but in a good way as it coats my mouth with deliciousness. It has a mild carbonation level and doesn't leave any lacing to speak of.
Brau Brothers has a really tasty scotch ale on their hands with this one. It's rich and sweet with a perfect amount of smoke and some pleasant fruit characteristics. I thought their old Scotch Ale was a good brew, but I thing they did the right thing by switching to this new recipe. I will definitely be revisiting Bancreagie in the future, especially on cool spring and fall evenings while sitting outside.