Friday, February 28, 2014

Beer Review: Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer Geek Vanilla Shake

Reviewing the Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer Geek Vanilla Shake from Mikkeller out of Copenhagen, Denmark. This is their delectable Beer Geek Vanilla Shake aged for eight months in a second-use bourbon barrel. Same label as the regular version, distinguished only by the dull golden/dijon mustard colored wax.

Score: 100

2014 vintage bottle served in a stemmed Mikkeller taster glass and enjoyed on 02/16/14. Review is from iPhone notes

Appearance: Pours a deep brown coffee color that is practically black. Not much head or retention lacing/froth-wise, but swirling this beer browns the side of the glass more than Bourbon County Brand Stout and leaves behind big oily legs and a mysterious milled oats-like residue on the sides of the glass. 5/5

Smell: HUGE vanilla here, with ample fudge/chocolate brownie notes too. Molassses undertones, and only a light amount of "straight bourbon" in the aroma. There is a good roastiness present, and a little bit of spent coffee grounds too. The fudge and vanilla and roast are quite bold, and in perfect harmony. This smells like a roasty Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord! 5/5

Taste: This beer is best described as a roasty Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord with a lovely underlying bitterness rather than decadent sweetness. Dark chocolate and roast upfront, followed by a huge wave of mashmallowy vanilla flavor and then finishing with a strong cocoa and light coffee bitterness that linger with the vanilla and add great balance. As with the nose, there is a subtle and complementary molasses and bourbon flavored backbone that accentuates the chocolate and vanilla here. Hints of coconut too. As the beer warms up, a little oak flavor develops towards the finish and a big fudge flavor comes out of the woodwork. So much going on, so balanced, so well integrated. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, low carbonation. Sweetness and roastiness upfront, with a strong and delectable balancing bitterness towards the finish. Creamy, viscous mouthfeel. 5/5

Overall: Ungodly expensive, but worth every penny. This is Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord (BVDL) junior, with a great underlying bitterness that makes the bottle dangerously (and selfishly) drinkable. The non-barrel aged version of this beer was great, but the barrel aging takes this beer to a whole 'nother level. This is easily a top five overall stout, quality-wise capable of going punch-for-punch in a blind tasting with the likes of BVDL, Kentucky Breakfast Brunch Stout (KBBS), Rare Bourbon County Stout, and Barrel Aged Abraxas. Although the price is hefty, I justified buying several after sampling this bottle because (1) most people who would seek out a bottle of BVDL, myself included, would jump at a $70 bottle of BVDL in a heartbeat considering that its a $50 bottle retail, and (2) I am happy to pay a premium to have two 12 oz bottles that can be consumed at separate points in time rather than one 750 ml or 22 oz bottle that is a one-and-done. Mikkeller (allegedly) only bottled a couple hundred bottles from this batch, but there are still a handful available for sale on their website. Order one now, while you still can, and do not look at the billing receipt after placing your order -- you'll thank me later, even if your wife monitors your credit card statements.

Cost: $35 (shipped) for a 12 oz bottle.

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