Coming together over craft beer.
In reviewing this beer, I would like to share a completely accurate accounting of the conversation that took place at Terrapin before this ale was created:
Spike: “Ok, everyone, gather round, I got an idea. Let’s take a wildly popular beer that we pulled off the market, one that is mega hoppy, then age it in oak cask so that it develops a soft vanilla finish that both compliments and cuts through the hops, leaving the drinker of this beer so impressed yet relaxed that he has nothing left to do but write a blog about it.”
John: “You know I trust your instinct, but how am I ever going to sell something that? What would we call it?”
Spike: “Easy, call it ‘Don’t Think About It Just Drink It Because, Trust Me, It Is That Freaking Good That You Won’t Regret It And You Can Thank Me Later Imperial Red Ale’.”
John: “I am just gonna go with ‘Oaked Big Hoppy Monster’.”
Spike: “Whatever man.”
I tried this beer with really no expectation. Unlike so many beer lovers, I am not a hop head, and often steer clear of anything that I think is going to be too overwhelming. It is actually a dilemma for me, because I love the smells generated by very the hops, but not too much bitterness. It is a line I happily walk in my beer tasting adventures. But I know Terrapin is a reputable as they come and took a flyer on this brew with both ‘Big’ and ‘Hoppy’ in the name. What I didn’t notice was the word ‘Oaked’….
First, the presentation. It was served in a modified tulip. Second, it was porter dark, and only at the edges of the glass if you caught the light could you really see the red, but it was definitely, flashing an amber glint every once in a while just to remind you this was a deceptive beer. There was not a while lot on the nose for me, but that has never been my strong suit. Maybe some light freshness, but not fruity or anything.
The sip. The hops run you over right away and the carbonation come to life instantly in your mouth. But, it fades, actually, it melts away revealing subtle but clear smooth vanilla tones. It is at this point that I realized I was drinking the OAKED version. It was a very pleasant surprise for sure.
This beer has 8.3% ABV, but you wouldn’t know it. The hops, malt, vanilla, and even the bite of the alcohol come together perfectly, each taking a turn on your palette before the whole thing quietly fades away. A really good beer for sure, one to be sipped and enjoyed.
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