Sunday, 9 September 2012

Mikkeller Monk's Brew BA Bourbon

Good evening all. Tonight's beer is Monk's Brew BA Bourbon, yet another unconventional Quad from Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark). This is a barrel aged incarnation of Monk's Elixir, itself inspired by the popular Trappist Quads from Rochefort and Westvleteren, and has been aged in bourbon barrels prior to bottling. As with any Mikkeller offering I'm expecting good things, so let's get on with the review after the pic....

Monk's Brew BA Bourbon (10.0% ABV) pours a dark brown colour with a thick off-white head that retains itself well on the surface of the beer. The aroma is pretty epic, with raspberries, blackcurrants, vanilla, bourbon and plenty of booze in the background. The dark fruits from the Quad base combine with the woody bourbon to create a fortified wine/port aroma, whilst the alcohol partially volatilises and acts as a great medium to transport the aromas into the nose. There's also some background sweetness that tries to wrestle with the heavier aromas, being met with occasional success. The taste manages to pack in more dimensions than the aroma, with raspberries, bourbon, caramel, some tartness and a nice dose of yeast extract in the finish. Despite the high alcohol content and the perception of the booze on the nose it's not as noticeable on the palette, giving the flavours plenty of opportunity to come through unimpeded. The Quad base delivers plenty of characteristic dark fruits, accompanied by a slight tartness that's amplified somewhat by the barrel ageing, and the finish is very reminiscent of Marmite (yeast extract) with some dryness and a lingering grape flavour in the background. The taste seems to go through a couple of defined movements, beginning with the fruits and a quick burst of alcohol before transitioning quickly to the yeast extract flavours and the dry finish. The mouthfeel is quite thick and the beer is moderately carbonated, with the tartness increasing this feeling to some extent. Overall, this is a very interesting take on the Quad style that amplifies the usual fruitiness, adds some complimentary flavours courtesy of the barrel ageing, and manages to deliver all of this in a surprisingly drinkable and balanced package. Another great offering from Mikkeller- definitely recommended, but not quite as good as the Monk's Brew BA Raspberry

Until next time....

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