What's On Tap: Week 15

What's On Tap: Week 15


What's On Tap: Week 15

Chestnuts may be roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost may be nipping at your nose, but the lack of snow here in Minnesota makes it feel less like Christmastime. Fortunately, I can count on the craft beer world to remind me that winter is indeed on the horizon despite the fact that it is going to be in the 40’s and 50’s this weekend. With cold weather imminent in our not-too-distant future, it is high time for us to hunker down and warm ourselves up – even internally!

What I’m hinting at is that it is the time of year when every brewery starts opening up their cellars and releasing their barrel-aged versions of beers. This means lots and lots of big, whiskey forward beverages to warm the cockles of your heart and paint your nose as bright as Rudolph’s.

I too have decided to open up the cellar and will be cracking into three bottles from last years’ barrel crop. These three beers are all from the fine folks at Founders Brewing Company out of Grand Rapids, MI. They also have all been stored in my cellar room since I acquired them last year. Each of these beers is released at least once a year on a regular schedule. So just because these are a year old; it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find them. Plus if you get this year’s versions then you too can age them at your house to enjoy next winter!


Kentucky Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing Company out of Grand Rapids, MI.
Served: Served from a bottle, at cellar temperature into a goblet.
Appearance: Dark black with a short head that immediately receded into a tight ring of tan bubbles.
Smell: I smell coffee and chocolate immediately. The bourbon becomes more pronounced as it warms. Also different levels of chocolate come out as it sits.
Taste: Dark chocolate candy bar – like Hershey’s Special Dark. It also reminds me of chocolate dipped espresso beans.
Mouth feel: High octane, thick and syrupy. This one has not lost anything since last year.  
Overall: Winner, Winner, Beer for Dinner – or in this case Breakfast! This is actually light years better than the immediate release. It is not as hot. The flavors have mellowed. The coffee did not dissipate like most cellared coffee stouts do. The cocoa s through like the best hot chocolate you’ve ever had – only of course it is not hot!

Dirty Bastard from Founders Brewing Company out of Grand Rapids, MI.
Served: Served from a bottle, at cellar temperature into a goblet.
Appearance: Slightly opaque brown with minimal bubbles and thin lacing.
Smell: Malty and a little musty with caramel and feint peat.
Taste: The flavor I’m getting is heavy malt forward. I’d compare it to Whoppers Malted milk balls, a toffee Blondie, or just a heavy helping of Special B malt. It has some grassiness and earthiness as well, but zero hop discernible hop character.
Mouth feel: At first it seemed very light up front, far lighter than I remember it. As it warms a bit more I got more of that sticky toffee pudding feel from it. The aftertaste definitely lingered at the back of my palate.
Overall: This one is a year round release and didn’t hold up as well to the cellaring as I predict the others will. It is still delicious and has that imperial red/scotch ale thing going on that people love this time of year. I recommend this one but not from a cellaring perspective.

Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company out of Grand Rapids, MI.
Served: Served from a bottle, at cellar temperature into a goblet.
Appearance: Dark amber with a thin ring of tight tan bubbles.
Smell: Tamed whiskey notes, oak, and a little toffee and caramel.
Taste: Sweet like brown sugar and the booze is there but it is muted from the current year batch. I’m also getting a little vanilla, almond, coconut, and maybe even some date or prune.
Mouth feel:  Heavy, although nowhere near as syrupy as day one. It actually feels a little bit more carbonated than I remember it being. As it warmed the booze definitely grew more pronounced and I could feel it more.
Overall: I’m sitting on a 5-year vertical of this so a little sipping of a 2013 won’t harm my long-term stash. This just isn’t the whiskey bomb that it is right away. That may actually be a good thing since this beer is border line too hot immediately. I think I dig it a little more this way but I doubt I’d say no to a 2014. Whatever year you choose let it warm and then sip it, this ain’t any chugging beer.

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