Friday, April 5, 2013

Beer Review: Black Damnation III (Black Mes)

Reviewing the Black Damnation III (Black Mes) from De Struise Brouwers out of Belgium. This is Black Albert aged for two years in single malt Islay Scotch Whiskey barrels (1995 "The Distillers Edition" barrels) from the Caol Ila distillery out of Scotland.
Score: 92

Unknown vintage bottle from "Lot 4533300911." This beer is presently retired. Served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 02/04/13. Major thanks to Adam (crosamich) for hooking me up with this major want!

Appearance: Pours a coffee color with a half finger layer of mocha colored head that settles to a thin covering that coats maybe half of the top of the beer. Below average lacing, average retention. Some spotty lacing remains behind after the beer runs back down into the glass. 4/5

Smell: At first, right out of the fridge, the aroma is heavy on burnt chocolate/licorice. As it warms up, however, the "burnt" characters mellow out. Bakers chocolate, burnt brown sugar, faint smoke, and a mild amount of cherry and dark fruit. Some wood towards the back of the aroma too. Some of the elements of the nose are appealing, but the components overall do not meld together smoothly. The nose is a bit rough around the edges. 3.75/5

Taste: The aroma initially put me off, but the taste is much better incorporated. There is more cherry flavor and chocolate and substantially less "burnt" qualities on the palate. The peatiness is still pretty faint, but still more pronounced. The smokiness does not add much flavor, so much as it adds a little prickling sensation on the throat after the swallow akin to peppers in a beer. The licorice is also pretty faint, and a mere accent in the finish. Some molasses too, primarily towards the finish. Hint of oak. More chocolate flavor prevails as the beer warms up. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Slightly sweet, but miles away from cloying. Has a very dry, almost chalky, finish that accenuates the viscosity of the brew. 4.5/5

Overall: I've been told by several people that this beer was a "Black Mess," but found that I enjoyed everything about this beer except maybe the nose (at least until it warmed up). The smokiness present in this beer is about as subtle as smoke can possibly be in a beer. Although I found this variation of Black Albert inferior to the original (as I did with all of the other variants of Black Albert that I have tried), I think that this was one of my favorite barrel treatments. The mouthfeel is very viscous thanks to a dry finish, and that is how I prefer my stouts. This may be the best beer I have ever had aged in Scotch barrels.

Recommendation: Seek a bottle of this out if you want to try a good example of a well-aged beer in Scotch barrels.

Cost: $12 for an 11.2 oz bottle.

No comments:

Post a Comment