Bourbon Barrel Aged American Barley Wine – ABV 10%

Odyssey 008 – ABV 8.7%

The idea for this beer was to create a blend inspired by dark Belgian wood-aged sour beers, based on the character of a few unique and long-term aged beers in the barrel store. The barrel-aged beers were selected for their aroma and acidity. After blending the beer was returned to barrels for another 3 months (in red wine barrels which part of the original blend was drawn, plus some bourbon barrels which previously housed Acid Jam). A small addition of seasonal British fruit was added to some of the barrels. The fruit additions total ~75g/L in the overall blend, consisting of 40% cherries and 60% blackcurrants.

The resulting beer has a gorgeous oak character with prominent red wine tannin influence, bramble & berries and a fruity acidity on the palate. Of course there’s a complexity too, and our tasting notes pick up floral notes, almonds, umami and a delicate funkiness the brettanomyces.

Rasputin Imperial Stout – ABV 10%

Living up to its name, this impy stout is intoxicating and full of character, with rich roasted malts and luxurious dark chocolate notes.

Look: Pours almost black with very slow forming off-white head and low carbonation.

Aroma: Powerful notes of dark chocolate, forest fruit and sweet warming bourbon.

Taste: Coffee and cocoa, rich syrupy bourbon, and some subtle spice and herbal accents.

Verdict: A smooth charismatic rascal. If it’s good enough for the Russian Queen, it’s good enough for us.

Verdeel & Heers Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with Brett – ABV 9.8%

‘Divide and Conquer’, with Amarillo and Simcoe hops and late-hopped with Saaz, comes packed with Brett and chocolate and caramel malts for an intense BA stout.

Look: Jet black colour with a small beige-tan head that lasts nicely.

Aroma: Sweet forest fruits – plums, figs and berries – plus bitter dark chocolate and some peated whiskey notes.

Taste: Intense, yeasty and complex the Bretting, with loads more fruit plus banana and raisins on a bed of rich malts and syrupy boozy sweetness. Really full-bodied with roasted coffee beans and chocolate bitterness in the close.

Verdict: The almost leathery effects of the Brett will become stronger with age. This may Divide its drinkers into lovers and haters but our hearts have been Conquered yet again by de Molen – we love it.

Bourbon Oktober Imperial Stout – ABV 9%

Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout; roasted malt and a JD-style sweet finish – certainly beer to be savoured, perhaps with smoked meat or a barbecue.

Aroma: Pure Jack Daniels with just a hint of hops to remind you that it’s a beer.

Taste: It drinks super-smooth. To begin with you get roasted malt, with a sweet dark chocolate booziness to contrast the bitterness the hops, then as the hops begin to fade the Bourbon flavours take over to leave a beautiful aftertaste.

Food Pairing: This beer pairs well with flavours of the deep South. Try it with mesquite smoked barbecued meats, or a prawn jambalaya.

Verdict: It’s a Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. Need we say more?

Haken & Ogen Bourbon Jim Beam Barrel Aged Imperial Stout – ABV 10.7%

Roughly translated to Hassle & Snags, this impy stout was aged in barrels for a year to be bursting with a boozy bourbon notes, malts, chocolate, and coffee.

Look: Pours black, opaque, hazy, with frothy brown foam head and medium carbonation.

Aroma: Chocolate, rich coffee, vanilla, burnt caramel and even some floral hints.

Taste:  Some roasted malts coming through behind dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, some dark fruits and more vanilla. Thick and full-bodied.

Verdict: Rich and boozy, drinking this certainly isn’t a Hassle.

Barrel Project 17.02 Arran Whisky Barrel Aged Barley Wine – ABV 12%

Aged in Isle of Arran whisky barrels, this barley wine  Brouwerij Kees is a deep ruby red with Citra hops giving a complex caramel, liquorice and malt notes. 

Look: A deep ruby red ruby body with foamy creamy head

Aroma: Molasses and caramel start before the liquor and tang of liquorice kick in. Complex layers of rye, malts and some barley notes

Taste: Chocolate and caramel with some slight alcohol burn accompanied by a silky finish plus brunt sugar and creme brulee

Verdict: Gorgeous colour and silky sweet chocolate flavours – I believe Isle have another, please.