Holiday Ale Festival Report #2: Barrel Aged Wonders

The Holiday Ale Festival in Portland, Oregon is in full swing with a lot of rare and barrel aged beers for the tasting. In this second report, I update a couple of barrel aged version of beers I’ve already reviewed, and explore three more. Cheers to my new friends who spurred me on as a wrote reviews! Here’s 5 more special beers.

No-Li Brewhouse Whiskey Barrel Aged Winter Warmer is an American Strong Ale with lots of oak. No-Li took their hoppy Winter Warmer (see my review here) and filled first-use Dry Fly Distillery wheat whiskey barrel hours after the spirit had been removed. It pours copper with a thin tan head. The nose has oak, slight vanilla, with pine hops in the background. The dry-hopped taste of floral and grassy hops comes through ahead of the barrel notes. It 7.5% ABV and 72 IBU.

Hopworks Urban Brewery The Incredible Abominable of the Enchanted Barrel Forest is an Imperial version of Abominable Winter Ale (my review is here). Think IPA – Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Simcoe hops are used to bring a floral, slightly citrus flavor. This beer was aged in Woodward Reserve Bourbon barrels which overlays vanilla and oak, but not much bourbon, note on top of this massive hop hulk. The mouthfeel smoothed a bit from the regular Abominable. It’s 9% ABV and a whopping 100 IBU.

Sixpoint Brewery Lump of Coal Porter is a collaboration with “Beer Goddess” Lisa Morrison. It pours dark brown with a firm light brown head. The aroma is deep, dark cocoa, and molasses. It has sharp caramel malts with the bitter hops emerging in the finish. It’s not nearly as sweet or rich as the nose would let on. Which is a good thing. This very drinkable, a bit on the hoppy side porter is 7.9% ABV and 56 IBU.  

Coalition Brewing Big Maple is an Imperial Porter. Big Maple pours dark caramel with a full tan head of foam. I pick up lots of toasted malts – 15 different malts according to the brewery – and slight chocolate and coffee notes. I don’t pick up the Vermont Maple syrup in the taste. I get full-bodied chocolate malts and a whiff of smoke. It’s a full-bodied Porter, the drink equivalent of a pot roast. It’s 9% ABV and 40 IBU. Leave some on the mantel for me on Christmas Eve. 

Migration Brewing Frankie Claus is a Belgian Imperial Stout. This beer pours black with a rich, thick khaki head of foam. The nose is dominated by cocoa and toasted malts. Chocolate and toasted malts come through on the slightly bitter (60 IBU), dry flavor. It’s medium bodied, with a smooth, clean finish. The 11.8% ABV is well integrated, watch out for this one.

See you at the Holiday Ale Festival! It ends Sunday, December 7, 2014.

Question: What is your favorite beer from the Festival? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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    While it's difficult to picture Santa as a young man, he was once. He met the future Mrs. Claus one snowy night when she offered him a winter ale that she brewed herself. It was love at first sight - for both the Mrs. and her winter ales. With Santa's growing fame, his favorite brews became named after his favorite day - Christmas. Santa now travels the world each year to spread the joy that began in a stable in Bethlehem two millennia ago.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.