Avery Quinquepartite: Latin for “consisting of five parts,” Quinquepartite is a barrel-aged sour ale blended from beers aged in five oak barrels in the Avery cellars, two cabernet sauvignon barrels, along with port, chardonnay and zinfandel barrels. The beer pours a golden orange color with a thin white head. The beer has an attractive citrus nose and a robust sour flavor. Good lemon zest finish.
Big Sky Barrel-Aged Ivan the Terrible: This imperial stout is brewed using English hops and American malt. The beer is 8.75 percent ABV brew that pours a dark black color with a thick head. The beer has aromas that hint at dried raisins and figs. The flavor profile is rich and thick, with vanilla notes from the barrel aging, roasted mocha, and traces of dark sweet fruits. It is hard to find a place where they could put more flavor.
The Bruery Mélange #3: “Mixture number 3,” is an equal blend of three Bourbon barrel-aged beers: Black Tuesday Imperial Stout, The Bruery Anniversary Ale, and White Oak Wheat Wine. The beer pours an dark chestnut color and has hints of maple in its aroma. There is plenty of body to this beer, with vanilla notes, whiskey, dark fruits and caramel all merged together.
Firestone 14 Anniversary Ale: A complex brew with a true depth of flavors. It pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The common thread in this brew is the Bourbon barrel aging, which shows in both the aroma and the flavor. Right off the bat, the mouthfeel presents an enveloping texture. The aroma features vanilla, a hint of coffee, and some dark skin fruits. The flavor has a cocoa base, sun dried raisins, vanilla, molasses and oak. This is one of the richest brews I’ve tasted in years.
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Grand Cru Brewers Reserve Oak-Aged Ale: Pours a reddish brass color, with a thick off-white head of foam. The brewery combined oak-aged Bigfoot, Celebration Ale, and Pale Ale, then dry-hopped the meritage. The beer has some very floral and pine hop aromas. The flavor produces some signature citrus hop notes up front that come under the influence of the oak. The beer is 9.2% ABV and you can taste the kick a bit.
Stone Imperial Russian Stout GK’s Mad Man Mix: This beer is a blend of a number of vintages of Stone Imperial Russian Stout, along with a Bourbon barrel-aged version of the 2008 vintage and Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, and spices selected by Stone CEO Greg Koch. The brew pours as black as a moonless night. The big flavors of Stone Imperial Russian Stout are at the heart of this brew, with hints of spice and some more direct hop character in the mid-palate. The brew has a gracefully long finish.
Rick Lyke drinks beer and watches trends from his home in Charlotte, N.C.