Haand: Narke: Birrificio Del Ducato: #1000 (Norway: Quadrupel: 10.4% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown. Thin brown head. Still body.

Nose: Bitter almonds. Raisins. Sour wine. Wholemeal bread. Malt drinks. Slight sulphur. Nutmeg. Light musty air.

Body: Almonds. Vinous – sour red wine. Seven Thai spice. Fruitcake and sultanas. Figs. Cocktail bitters. Earthy bitterness. Marzipan. Marmalade.

Finish: Almonds. Cocktail bitters. Malt biscuits and malt drinks. Port. Earthy notes. Slight funky yeast feel.

Conclusion: Maybe I need to walk away from barrel aged beers for a while. I keep feeling like I have to dig and fight through the ageing to get to the beer. Or maybe I don’t need to go that far, it is just on my mind after drinking this. I do have a lot of barrel aged beers in the cupboard right now, and it would be horrible to waste them. Anyway, as you may have guessed this is very barrel aged influenced, very vinous, with additional notes in cocktail bitters like character and bitter almonds taking the front.

Now time does help to get the beer out and about, with malt chocolate and fruitcake character coming out. Also the mix of base and barrel ageing seem to create a marmalade like character which I would more expect of cognac aged beer that I would expect to find it here.

While it is always very vinous dominated, I did soften to the beer over time. For one, what seemed like a slightly thin mouthfeel early on develops into a light, creamy thickness as you get used to the vinous element that seems to block the feel of the main body. Similarly the aroma gains a slight sulphur, bready thickness to it as the vinous element simmer down – calling to memories of a hand pulled real ale in some ways.

The latter half of the beer still has a heavy, bitter, sour wine influence, oddly mixing with the sweet marmalade base. However with more hop character and earthy bitterness coming out, matched with more dark fruit below that, which gives a more satisfying beer base.

I think a lighter touch on the oak ageing would benefit this a lot. That is presuming the base beer is good, it seems so, but it is hard to tell at this point. If the base beer is not good – well good job blunting it with the vinous notes then!

So, basically, if you are interested in the barrel ageing this is reasonable, if not massivly influenced by the base beer – it leans on an eathy, yeast influenced base more than anything else. If you are more interested in the beer it loses much of that, so it is probably not for you.

Simple, eh?

Background: So, a quad aged in Amarone casks, done in collaboration with the awesome Narke, and Ducato – who I didn’t get along with the last beer I encountered from them, but generally have a good rep. Also I don’t think I have ever tried Amarone , so don’t expect any wise comparisons to the original wine from me today. This beer was grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer section and saved for when I wanted something big and booming to try. So, on going with awesome music for backing my drinking – went with Anti-Nowhere League – “We are … the League. May not be everyone’s choice of punk, but I love their over the top stylings.

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