Beavertown: Bellwoods: Barrel Aged Moose Fang (England: Black IPA: 9% ABV)
Visual: Black to very dark brown. Thick brown head that leaves mounds at the side.
Nose: Malt chocolate and cashew nuts. Ginger bread. Chunky marmalade. Spirity. Cocoa dust. Cream.
Body: Milk chocolate and cream. Zesty orange. Strawberry crème. Bitter cocoa. Slightly spirity.
Finish: White and milk chocolate mix. Marmalade. Lemon sherbet. Bitter cocoa. Strawberry crème.
Conclusion: Ok, orange zest and Armagnac aged – that is a mix that results in one chunky slice marmalade infused beer. Thankfully I like marmalade. I am like Paddington Bear, but less cute. And an alcohol fan. Well, Paddington Bear may have been an alcohol fan. We shall never know.
This tingles, spirity, yet with smooth character at the back end. Between the marmalade and the spirit character the barrel ageing really seems to have had its wicked way with this beer. Because of this the base beer is somewhat kept to the back – A creamy, chocolate base beer that mixes sweet white chocolate with bitter cocoa. Or so it seems; Considering how much an influence the barrel ageing has, it is hard to say exactly where that portion ends without drinking the unaged version. That isn’t a dig at the beer – that creamy characteristic gives great texture and backing and lets the beer slip down nicely, However it is very evident that the marmalade characteristics are the main thing.
It is very satisfying but a touch one note – at around 9% abv and 500ml I would say that it is a perfect beer for two people to share. The flavour otherwise gets a tad sickly by the end. I know this as I mistakenly thought it was a 375ml bottle so drank the whole thing myself. Oops.
Anyway, had in smaller, shared measures it is a bright, sugar sweet shock, delivered by a sweet yet mellow base. The base is sweet, but still less than the sugar shock high notes so still manages to drag the sweet barrel ageing back from the, well, edge.
I think that with shorter barrel ageing this would have been better balanced and so awesome. As is it is fun, but kind of like watching a guy get shot out of a cannon twenty times. Cool, but a tad repetitive. Still fun and well made.
Background: Bellwoods is a Canadian brewery, so of course they have Moose and hockey imagery on the bottle. I don’t know why I even had to google to find that out. I should just have known. I kind of gave up on beer style and went with ratebeer’s call of Black IPA. This sure as hell is not a standard Brown Ale, but I was kind of stumped on where to put it. Anyway, this is the final beer that I was given at Christmas, this one from Matt. Many thanks :-). This has been aged in Armgnac barrels, and made with cocoa nibs, vanilla pods and orange zest. So now you know.