Struise Tsjeeses Reserva Port Barrel Aged Review

De Struise Brouwers from Oostvleteren, Belgium has made quite a splash with their very agreeable beers. Tsjeeses a colloquial pronunciation of “Jesus” and this is their Christmas beer. Actually, Struise makes several versions of Tsjeeses. There’s the Bourbon Barrel Aged Reserva and this is the Port Barrel Aged Reserva.

I purchased this 2011 vintage in Belgium last Spring and carried back to the North Pole.

Tsjeeses Port Barrel Aged Reserva pours translucent copper, a little lighter colored than the Bourbon Barrel Aged, with a fine foam head. It’s unfiltered and unpasteurized. The nose has candi sugar, caramel, vanilla, dried fruit, and raisins. It tastes, well, yummy! It’s has sweet malts, vanilla, white pepper, yeast, and a touch of orange peel from the bitter hops. Tsjeeses is sweet but it’s not syrupy or jammy. It’s a satisfying mouthful of candied fruit, finishing with warmth that spreads down your throat from the 10% ABV.

Struise is related the Flemish word for “ostrich” (one of the brewers also runs an ostrich farm), which are thought by locals to be sturdy, thus De Struise Brouwers means “The Sturdy Brewers.”

Despite it’s age, Tsjeeses Port Barrel Aged Reserva 2011 is still available on store shelves. The brewery does much of the aging before it released this beer.

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Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper Bourbon Barrel Aged Review

Last summer I gave you notice to get your bottle of Port Brewing Bourbon Barrel Santa’s Little Helper while it was still available. It’s released every July after aging Santa’s Little Helper Imperial Stout in bourbon barrels for 9 months. Today, I grabbed a bottle from my cellar and pulled the cork. Here’s my review.

Bourbon Santa’s Little Helper pours black with a thin chocolate brown head of foam. The nose is full of bourbon,

Rahr & Sons Winter Warmer Bourbon Barrel Aged Review

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth, Texas makes a Bourbon barrel aged English-Style Dark Ale they simple call, Winter Warmer. I call it delicious. I’m reviewing a bottle from 2012 that has been aging 2 years.

This bourbon winter warmer pours dark mahogany with a thick tan head that has long staying power. One whiff and you

Stille Nacht Reserva 2010

I’m so excited! The elves were out scouting around for some aged Christmas beer gems and look what they turned up! A 750ml bottle of Stille Nacht Reserva 2010 by De Dolle Brouwers of Esen, Belgium.

Do I need to remind you that Stille Nacht is my favorite Christmas beer? The 2010 Reserva was aged in Bordeaux wine barrels for 25 months before it’s release.

There have only been a few Stille Nacht Reserva releases 2000, 2005, 2008, and 2010. The Stille Nacht Reserva 2015 is in barrels aging as I write.

This bottle is going in the cellar, but I promise to open it this Christmas season and share a review with you.

Question: What’s your favorite Christmas beer? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

2014 Hoppy the Woodsman is In the Barrel

I stopped by Schooner Exact Brewery in Seattle for lunch today. I got to peek into the barrel room. Hoppy Holidays was tucked away a few weeks ago in a half-dozen bourbon barrels. When it reemerges in December it will be Hoppy the Woodsman! (See my review of both beers here.)

Schooner Exact has been barrel-aging Hoppy Holidays since 2008. This year’s Woodsman is aged in bourbon barrels from Heaven Hill Distilleries, a private family-owned and operated distillery headquartered in Bardstown, Kentucky.

In 2012, Schooner Exact expanded their barrel-aging program to an Imperial Porter and a series of Sour beers. Today, I tasted their Barrel-aged Raspberry Brown. A complex, tart and refreshing beer. To make sure the Sour beer yeast do not invade Hoppy Holidays’ barrels, the Sours are stored in a separate room at the opposite end of the brewery.

Santa’s Little Helper, Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout Released

Santa's Little Helper BourbonPort Brewing Co. just released their Santa’s Little Helper bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout. Yes, released in July after barrel aging Santa’s Little Helper.

I know you’re only thinking of IPAs, blondes, lagers, and saisons…

It’s available now. And will be long gone by Christmas unless you pick up a bottle today and stash it away.

Watch the video about this release over at Port Brewing Co.

Struise Tsjeeses Reserva Bourbon Barrel Aged Review

De Struise Brouwers produces a Belgian strong ale called Tsjeeses. The 2010 Reserva is aged in bourbon barrels. The name is the colloquial rendering of “Jesus” with a label featuring a headshot of him in a Santa hat that is more reminiscent of the brewer, Urbain Coutteau, than our Saviour.

I’m reviewing the De Struise Tsjeeses Reserva Bourbon Barrel Aged from 2010. It has been carefully cellared.

Tsjeeses Reserva pours copper with a firm amber head of foam that lasts. I detect aromas of malts, bourbon, candy sugar, and yeast. It is surprising dry (not sweet) for such a big malty beer. It tastes of malts, caramel, boozy (it is 10% ABV), vanilla, coriander, white pepper, and bready yeast. It has a smooth mouthfeel and finishes slightly sweet. The star of this beer is the bourbon barrel malt flavors that are rich and generous.

De Struise Brouwers is located in Belgium near the border with France and is one of the highest rated breweries in the world. It is located in village of Oostvleteren. Sound familiar? It is only a couple miles from Trappist Westvleteren.

Struise is related the Flemish word for “ostrich” (one of the brewers also runs an ostrich farm), which are thought by locals to be sturdy, thus De Struise Brouwers means “The Sturdy Brewers.”

Several versions of Tsjeeses Reserva have been created – in oak, bourbon barrels, and port barrels. This is one of those beers that if you see it, buy it immediately, for you may never see a bottle again.

Question: Are you go to Belgium to find a bottle? You can leave a comment by clicking here.