A dark and dreary day drew me to this bottle of brown ale from Dogfish Head. A new beer store in Wells Maine yielded many awesome treasures, this one included. The bottle is pretty, it looks like a giant tree cookie on the front. Described as a “brown ale aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels” this one piqued my interest because I love aged and woody brews lately, something I’ve seen a lot more of in the past 6 months.
In typical Dogfish Head fashion, this one is made from a rare wood from Paraguay. The 10,000 gallon tanks are the largest wooden brewing vessels built in America. The tag line on their bottle is “It’s all very exciting. We have wood, now you do too.”
This one poured dark, dark brown. The head was a milk chocolate color, the liquid was like the color of special extra dark chocolate. The smell though, was that of a typical brown ale, nothing really special there. This one is aged, though, so I knew there should be more complexity to it than that.
I was flabbergasted when I first tasted this. So many different waves of flavor came through. The first wave was typically malty like a brown ale, then there was a tartness, a sweetness, and it ended with a smoky taste that reminded me of smoked Gouda cheese. I’m not kidding – I would have loved to have had some smoked Gouda with this. Or maybe a fabulous turkey pannini with smoked cheddar melting on it. Mmmn.
The alcohol is apparent on subsequent sips, but not in a bad way. It is certainly strong, but it is also very satisfying. You know you’re drinking a strong brew, here, but wrapped in such a delightful taste, it’s a pleasant and not burning experience. This one is officially 12% ABV, enough to get you decently sloshed after one regular sized bottle.
It’s like a super brown ale, with lots of complexities in it. It’s a joy just to swish this around in my mouth, eyes closed and pay attention to all to the different tastes. Another really interesting one from Dogfish Head.
I really have to get down there on a road trip one of these days…