Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Saint Arnold Bishop's Barrel No. 3 Review

Brewery: Saint Arnold Brewing Co. | Beer: Bishop's Barrel No. 3
Style: Russian Imperial Stout | ABV: 11.5% | IBUs: 49
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into tulip glass
Saint Arnold Bishop's Barrel No. 3Here we have the third release in Saint Arnold's Bishop's Barrel series, and already we're seeing some retreaded ground.

Like the first release in the series, this is a Russian Imperial Stout aged in Woodford Reserve barrels. The differences being that it was aged for 12 months instead of 10 and that the house Saint Arnold yeast was used in place of the less estery yeast in the first release.

I was a fan of the first release, though wanted a bit more body. Sounds like I may just get my wish here.

Saint Arnold use the same description for this as the first release:

A pleasant sipping beer with the bourbon both present but not overpowering as you work your way through the glass. Oddly easy to drink for a beer this strong.
Let's jump back in and see what has changed.

Appearance: An inky black body with hints of red around the edge. Up top, just over a finger of tannish head that fades slowly, leaving good lacing.

Aroma: Bitter chocolate, cola, molasses, a hint of something lactic, booze, and lots of bourbon barrel character with a balance of oak and vanilla.

Taste: The base features dark chocolate, dark coffee, dark fruit, and well-toasted dark malt, but is on the lighter side as far as intensity goes for the style. There’s lots of barrel character on deck to compliment, with lots of vanilla, oak, and bourbon character. Taking a small nip of Woodford Reserve while sampling, it’s clear to see the influence here. Everything meshes well and it’s well balanced. The booze is apparent throughout, but never imposes. Dark malt, oak, and bourbon in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy with silky smooth medium carbonation and just a little warmth from the booze. Doesn’t have the same thinness issue as the first release.

Drinkability: Drinks a little faster than the double-digit alcohol content and style would suggest.

Verdict: Plenty of deja-vu here, to be sure, as this is rather close to the first installment of the series. The yeast change is noticeable, making things a bit more full-bodied and creamy. However, that extra two months in the barrel hasn’t made much of an impact. The base beer is still just a little bit less intense than I’d prefer, but the barrel again comes through beautifully.

Grade: A

Note: While this review is being published in November, the tasting notes contained within were taken when the beer was fresh in May.

No comments: