Barrel aged beer, not a super rare thing but do it to any style and you have the making of a delicious brew. Today I am sampling Shipyard Brewing Company’s Gladiator Essedarius Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Roman Ale (that was a mouth full). I have never heard of a Roman Ale so I believe it is a gimmick. The label description says it is actually a barley wine. So what we have here is a high hopped, high malted barley wine style with the addition of barrel aging? Awesome!
Appearance: The bottle art is kind of low quality and cheesy but I know not to judge a beer by its label. It is a caged bomber. A steady pour produces an opaque hue with a beautiful two finger, tight, tan head that sits on top like a crown.
Smell : buttery, vanilla, milk chocolate, cocoa, minty chocolate, oaky wood. Wow! Wow! Wow! The buttery creaminess is most prevalent like a good chardonnay.
Taste: smoky, buttery, roasted barley, char, tobacco, figs, bourbon in the raw, with a rich and long finish. It is 11.3% ABV and very quaffable. The char and smoke sticks in the nose. It keeps the tongue dry as a bone and wood notes shine through with every sip.
And that is why I like a good barrel aged beer. Shipyard has out done themselves and they are not known for big, extreme beers. Another one was just released called Longfellow Winter Ale. It is an English Porter and was awarded a perfect “world class” 100 point score by Beer Advocate. I am excited to try that. I was recently visited by a representative of Moa Brewing Company and he let me taste their Imperial Stout aged in pinot noir barrels. That was mighty tasty. The aging picked up the tannins and the pinot noir taste nicely on top of an already well balanced stout giving a nice, fruity, dry finish. Another fantastic barrel aged IPA is Cigar City’s Jai Alia IPA aged in cedar barrels. The cedar imparts a great taste and compliments the well-hopped IPA nicely. Gladiator as well as Longfellow can be found at most ABCs.
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