Blackjack Native Sun 2014 (Pinot Noir Barrel Aged)

Blackjack: Native Sun 2014 (Pinot Noir Barrel Aged) (England: Dopplebock: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Deep black cherry red to brown. Moderate rich chocolate froth.

Nose: Chocolate shavings. Dry malt drink. Sour red grapes. Rose petals. Chocolate fondue comes out as it warms. Herbal notes. Raisins and liquorice.

Body: Cinnamon sticks. Sour red wine. Malt chocolate to bitter chocolate. Mint leaves. Blackcurrants. Nutmeg. Liquorice. Slight glacier cherries.

Finish: Bitter chocolate flakes. Sour red wine. Nutmeg. Lightly earthy. Liquorice. Raisins.

Conclusion: I have limited experience with Pinot Noir – that is I have tried several New Zealand versions of it, and they are awesome. very big and fruity. I owe that knowledge entirely to my awesome sister who has provided me with a few glasses of good stuff over the years.

Yes I have a friendly booze family.

This is much drier and more sour wine influenced than the Pinot Noirs I have encountered – with more earthy and acidic notes. From what I have been told this is pretty standard with more European Pinot Noirs. Which makes sense.

Anyway, now I have demonstrated my nigh complete lack of knowledge on wine, we have – THE BEER!

I mention the wine first as it is a huge influence, but while the wine does dominate the dopplebock seems to make a solid base under that – bitter chocolate and malt drinks makes for a robust base character. It is smooth, with some cherry and raisins hints (though actually, for all I know that could be the wine as well. I would say 70% sure it is the beer). A lot of the malt flavours crossover with the red wine ageing very fluidly, so it is hard to be certain exactly where one ends and the other begins. That does mean that the flavours meld very well and gives a very well balanced experience.

Combined together the elements manage a menagerie of dark fruits, Christmas spices, earthy character and acidic sour wine notes, all balanced by malt chocolate. Halfway between a dopplebock and a mulled wine in some ways.

Overall, yep it’s a good one – you do have to like the wine aspect though as it works its way into every pore. There is a wine dryness to the entire thing. As a beer alone there are far better, but this is such a well done mix that explores the wine but doesn’t lose the beer.

A bigger amount of complexity to the base beer would have made this an all time great – as is it is still a very nice beer indeed.

Background: This one is from Manchester! I have some good memories of that place. Anyway, a dopplebock aged in Pinot Noir barrels, that grabbed my eye – not just as you don’t see many Brit made dopplebocks. Picked up from Independent Spirit, this was drunk while listening to Prodigy: The Day Is My Enemy. That album definitely has legs.

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