#OpenIt is a multiparticipant Twitter organised beery event, much like #Twissup and #TheSession. The aim of it is to get you to open those beers that you've been hoarding and get writing about them. Andy over at Beer Reviews has declared this weekend to be the first such event in 2012. As with many people I have a fair few of these sat around so chose to go for the (lucky for some) target of 7 bottles to review. I did not drink all of these on the #OpenIt weekend, but they were enjoyed in the spirit of the event in any case!
|Ballards Duck House|
The first beer is a case in point for why its not necessarily best to hoard beer! Ballards Duck House is the annual barley wine released by Sussex brewer Ballards. Bought from the brewery on the release date dec 2009. Its passed its BBE. This beer is a crib-sheet of off-flavours.Pours completely flat, no head whatsoever. Dark ruby. There’s balsamic vinegar and sherry on the nose. Very complex medium body reminiscent of an oud bruin. Oxidised of course with a lot of vinegar, some soggy cardboard, autolysed yeast marmite flavours, a hint of lactic acid, rounded body, quite sweet, vinous fruit. Long savoury finish with more marmite. Despite these seemingly jaring flavours the beer was quite enjoyable!
In addition to the Gales Prize Old Ales we got through at Alan's last weekend I took a number of other beers along.* Enjoying the evening too much to make copious notes I did however do some cheese pairings (how unpredictable(!)).
|Law of diminishing returns?|
That evening was rounded off nicely by The Lost Abbey The Angel's Share. This has all those oaky flavours in abundance but the robust malt bill is big enough to handle it. Milleens cheese is a great pairing, pulling out those fruity depths from under the vanilla. (This also went very nicely with the Gales Prize Old Ale).
And finally onto a beer style that everyone has in their cellars, the Imperial Stout. To link cleverly with the last beer reviewed, these two are also barrel aged, as brewers of big stouts are wont to do.
|You knew there'd be cheese involved!|
Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti is the brewery's top rated beer on ratebeer and one inside the top 50 on the nose initially a hint of dry cocoa powder giving way to rich malted milk biscuits or horlicks. On the next waft the perfumed sweetness of vanilla asserts itself, almost custard-like and a touch of alcohol. Opaque black with bubbled tan head. Slipping down with the smoothness of milk and a gentle carbonation at first there's molten milk chocolate followed swiftly by roast barley and acrid coffee leading to a fairly dry finish. After eating some blue cheese the vanilla is coaxed out from the bitter depths transforming the beer from espresso to mocha latte, whilst at the same time the beer embraces what was a fairly timid stilton and cajoules it to release those salty, slightly funky peniccilium roqueforti flavours finishing with some pepper. I reckon this beer would match well with a custard tart. Beware...the ABV is certainly well hidden!
|Evil black depths|
Mikkeller brews a lot of imperial stouts, perhaps the most well known of which being Black Hole.
Dark brown-black with thin brown tinged cream head that soon collapses to a lacing. On the nose its caramel and vanilla with a hint of beechwood and fruity coffee. Very full bodied and warming with coffee up front and booze following on quickly. Then we get biscuit and charcoal, vanilla and burnt toast. The finish is rich and boozy, lengthy, a hint of red apple. Fairly lively carbonation
*Having only just acquired the Goose Island Bourbon County it has ended up back in the cupboard with some other Impys for a future supping occasion.