July 4, 2013

Boulevard and Seirra Nevada TERRA INCOGNITA

Boulevard and Seirra Nevada TERRA INCOGNITA - Ale Aged in Whiskey Barrels (2013)
Brewed and Bottled by Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri. USA.
Collaboration Brew (Limited Release).
25.4 fl. oz. / $13.95 USD / 8.5% ABV

About: "Situated at opposite ends of the California Trail, pioneering breweries Sierra Nevada and Boulevard have once again embarked upon a journey into the unknown. It was in 2012 that we first convened to craft a beer for SAVOR attendees. And it’s that collaborative effort, aptly named Terra Incognita (Unknown Land), which brought us together to relive our collective adventure in 2013 - and this time we will release it out into the world.

Earlier this year, Sierra Nevada Head Brewer Steve Dresler and Boulevard Brewmaster Steven Pauwels met in Kansas City to create a blend of three components: Terra Incognita aged in Templeton Rye barrels / Terra Incognita aged in a 2,000-gallon foudre / Fresh Terra Incognita dry-hopped with East Kent Golding. The end result is a, fittingly, earthy beer, celebrating the unique terroir of our two locations. The blend incorporates (roughly) 45% foudre-aged, 30% Templeton-aged, and 25% fresh dry-hopped beer - all aimed at showcasing some predominant oak characteristics with a subtle hint of earthy hops. Then just prior to bottling we added a dose of the wild yeast Brettanomyces, and allowed the beer to age for over three months."

Thoughts: Wrestled with that damn cork and pried that sucker clean out. Tipped my glass and started pouring slowly at first, and even slower as the head got thicker and thicker. For a barrel aged beer this thing sure has a thick, fat head that isn't showing any signs of dying down anytime soon! Color looks to be a dark chocolate brown with some shades of burgundy. There's absolutely no seeing through this one at all.

The smell on this bastard is fan-fuckin'-tastic I tells ya! Kinda like an evil root beer a little bit. I'm trying to lean in and get more of a scent through this two inch thick foamy head on top that's not dissolving. *Ten minutes later* Well, the heads still there so let's see what we've got here: man it's a weird one. There's a little bit of chocolate, but it's not chocolaty, a little rye, some wheat, straw, cherries, oak, a thick layer of easy going malts and a touch of hops. It smells sweet, spicy and just a little bit sour all at the same time.

First gulp and I'm hit with that wild sour yeast that just rips my shit apart. I have a feeling that this beer may be infected... with awesomeness that is!!1 Haha, I keed. A loaf of super peppery rye bread slaps me upside the face, while a soft touch of coffee beans and stale root beer flows through. Doesn't taste all that much like whiskey straight up, but the aftertaste of whiskey is there with a little bit of a burnt rubber, spice and a lot of rye. After that initial shock, the sour stuff really dies down but the funk remains. It's a little dirty, grassy, spicy, malty, sweet and sour, and tastes a little of hay and watered down vinegar. There's also notes of raw figs and brown sugar. Still not getting much of that whiskey, if only remnants of a cheaper Captain Morgan knock off, but it did impart a small bit of overall flavor into the beer. Mainly though it's raw figs and peppered rye bread everywhere. Not that that's a bad thing I guess.

Mouth feel is super light, airy and really carbonated. It almost disintegrates once inside the mouth. Pretty frothy too. TONS of bubbles.

This beer is decent, though it feels as if they may have played it safe. There's nothing overly offensive here, and at the same time it's not all that great. The rising sweetness in each gulp seems as if it's hiding something else. Overall it's really malty and flavorful, just not extreme in any way. Last bit of aftertaste after sipping the end of my first warm glass is a bit of nuttiness and cigarette smoke. It's good but just like many of the others, a one time bottle for me. Not that I wouldn't mind seeing the next batch made though... and man would I love to go back home again! 

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