Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Saint Arnold's Bishop's Barrel No. 4 Review

Brewery: Saint Arnold Brewing Co. | Beer: Bishop's Barrel No. 4
Style: Weizenbock | ABV: 9.9% | IBUs: ~40
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into tulip glass

Saint Arnold Bishop's Barrel No. 4
For the fourth beer in the successful Bishop's Barrel series, Saint Arnold has brewed up a big Weizenbock brewed with cocoa nibs and aged in Woodford Reserve barrels.

The majority was brewed a year before bottling, with 10% of the final product being a fresh batch to bring back the weizen yeast character which had faded in the barrels. The cocoa nibs employed came from Tejas Chocolate.

Here's how Saint Arnold describe the finished product:
The taste starts with bourbon and a rich maltiness. Chocolate and a light banana flavor emerges, reminiscent of a banana split made with chocolate ice cream.
I've been a big fan of the Bishop so far, let's see if the streak continues.

Appearance: An inky black body that lets no light escape, save a few highlights of brown if you force the issue. Up top, just over a finger of tannish head that fades in average time, leaving great lacing.

Aroma: A mix of dark malt, musty dark fruit, licorice, vanilla, bourbon, lots of oak, and a hint of booze as it warms.

Taste: Just like the nose. A big, bold mix of very dark fruit, licorice, vanilla, leather, bourbon, and oak over a solid backbone of dark malt. Clearly related to the other beers in this series. The alcohol is masked masterfully, never showing its head. Lots of barrel in the finish, along with dark fruit and dark malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied and velvety with smooth medium carbonation and a full finish. Nice slickness from the alcohol throughout.

Drinkability: Drinks just as you’d expect given the alcohol content.

Verdict: As with most beers in the Bishop’s Barrel series, the barrel really is front and center here. It’s more than just barrel through, with plenty of big and enjoyable Weizenbock character complemented by the barrel. Without the barrel it would be a good beer, with it, it’s something more.

Grade: A

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

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