Bitter Brewer - Oak Aged - Surly Brewing Company
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Ratings: 2 | Reviews: 1 | Display Reviews Only:
4.18/5 rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Pulled from the cask into an imperial pint glass. Sampled at the Map Room in Chicago.
Update---tried one more go around with this beer today and boy have my tastes changed.
A: Pours a lusty looking deep and clear cherry wood stain kind of color which is about the only thing that saves this beer from scoring any lower. It is really a beautiful color but the head was rather loose and soapy looking didn't hang around for all that long and did not leave much lacing if any down the sides of the glass.
Edit: This time around (the last pull of the cask BTW) the head was incredibly thick just about the thickest thing I've ever seen on a beer and on a session beer no less! It started out an inch thick and ended an inch thick. The only down side was that it seemed it was too thick to leave any lacing behind or get enough foam on each sip, but still one of the most amazing things I've seen in a beer.
S: The first sniff of this beer is just amazing. The oak certainly does not hide itself and is the first thing to greet the nose. From there things take an interesting turn as sweet caramel and chocolate malts blend with a strong citric hop aroma to form an incredibly mouthwatering inital aroma. Once you start drinking the beer though the hop aromas being to tail off and the beer becomes much more of the standard sweet malt aromas, but still the inital smell of this beer is absolutly amazing, it is wonderfully balanced I don't know how they do it.
T/MF: If only the taste were as amazing as the aroma. Don't get me wrong the beer is still great but just a bit of a let down after the aroma. Malts seem to dominate this beer I'm sure the oak aging also clouds out some of the fruiter aspects of this beer as well, but still it tastes quite sweet and milky upfront with a decent closing chocolatly bitterness all the while with a creamy oakiness hanging around. This beer has quite a lot going for it and tastes much bigger than it is. I swear I could taste buttered mushrooms in this but maybe I'm just crazy. What I'm not crazy about is the sort of lackluster mouthfeel on this beer. Yes I know that cask beers are going to be substantially mellower but it felt a little watery and a bit soapy on the tongue. There were undercurrents of hop bitterness that wanted to latch onto the tongue but it seemed that the carbonation was just not strong enough to get over the hump and make a more biting impression in the mouthfeel.
Edit: (Given a few more days the beer seems to have taken on a more substantial mouthfeel, much chewier than the last time and sublimely mellow)
D: I really like this beer, I think it's great but halfway though the mouthfeel started to wear thin on me and the hops all but disappeared, there were times I thought I was drinking a dark mild ale rather than a bitter. I think that the oak again may have hurt this beer overall. I would give it another shot because this beer is wonderfully layered and complex but as it stands its just personally a bit off the mark for me.
On the second go around and after a few more days in the cellar this beer changed like all real ales will and I was glad I didn't give up on it, a must try if you are in the map room. that is if they have any of this stuff left.
Serving type: cask
07-03-2008 00:37:31 | More by bluemoonswoon
Bitter Brewer - Oak Aged from Surly Brewing Company
- out of 100 based on 2 ratings.