July 2013 Archives

Barrel Aged IPA's

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Wookey.jpgI recently had the privilege to drink a Firestone Walker Wookey Jack. As Barrel aged IPA's go, this was by far the best barrel aged IPA I've had. It pours a deep hazel that fades to black. It manifested great head retention, sweet hoppy aroma, and a full body. Overall an excellent ale with a great piney hop aroma and flavor. It had a great complexity that despite being a barrel aged IPA, made it great none the less.

In general barrel aged IPA's are an oxymoron. An IPA is a hoppy brew best served fresh. Barrel aged ales, are given a complexity that enhances an ale that ages well. The whole concept of barrel aging an IPA is dumb. Firestone Walker pulled it off. Some breweries don't. I have tried the New Holland Oak Aged Hatter, It just tastes like old IPA that has turned. IPA's get a funkiness to them after a while.

Onto Founders DOOM. Another barrel aged IPA, this a double IPA, as opposed Wookey Jack which was a Rye IPA. I am a huge IPA fan. I have yet to have a double IPA that compares to a regular IPA with the exception of DogFishHead 120. Speaking of which Burton Baton was excellent as well. But very expensive and in the end it's just an IPA, they blend it with fresh IPA which is its saving grace. DOOM pours light and brassy, with a mellow grapefruit hop aroma. Medium to full bodied. Overall it was good. But really that's it. It had a bit of an old IPA funk, barrel character, and very sweet maltyness. Again, it's just an IPA. Not something that really is worthy of being part of the backstage series.

Don't get me wrong. I love IPA's. But I think they are an inexpensive, refreshing, crisp ale, best served fresh. Doubling them, and barrel aging them is, with only a couple of exceptions, a complete waste of time. DFH 120 which has a hop presence unique from other doubles and Wookey Jack would be those exceptions. If I am going to seek out aged brews they are going to most definitely be in the Imperial Stout category.

As for breweries like New Holland they need to give up the Oak Aged IPA attempts. For that matter none of their barrel aged beers are that good in my opinion.

Here is to fresh IPA. Speaking of which I just brewed one with Falconers Flight. I can't wait to keg it.


The Brewmaster


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