Bourbon Barrel-Aged Old Dipsea With Brett - Marin Brewing Company
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Ratings: 87 | Reviews: 54 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Pahn:
4.53/5 rDev +15%
22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. 2009 label. Thanks to psiweaver for generously trading me a few bottles of this!
As a preface, while I've surely tasted over a thousand different beers, this was my first by-mail beer trade, and Brett beers and barleywines are two of my absolute favorite things (I'm no enemy of bourbon barrel aging either). Also, while my ratings are often high (I try to limit myself to drinking *good* beer), I'm a person who's more inclined to be harsh and disappointed when my expectations are high, so when I say "4.5 taste," this isn't "Yeah it seems pretty good," 4.5, it's "Alright, you're overpromising here; Brett, bourbon, with the malty depth of an aged barleywine? I don't know how you're going to live up to this," 4.5. Plus, including shipping and packing fees, along with the traded beer and extras, this bottle cost me about 3 times what a normal bottle costs me. I'm not a rich man.
The point here is that I'm not going into this neutral. I expect a masterpiece of a beer.
Appearance: Aggressive pour yields a one inch, slowly dissipating bubbly off-white head that leaves a tight lace ring and a few islands of lacing. Pours a mostly opaque dark brown, with reddish translucent edges. Leaves a few dots and horizontal lines of lacing and has good legs.
Smell: First impressions: from the bottle: Sour, vinegary American wild-like smell. In the glass: Tangy, musty Brett funk (pretty deep and developed Brett), the same vinegary sourness from the bottle (infection? If so, I don't mind, because it's good), and bourbon.
My first thought here (besides "Woohoo, the bottle neither exploded nor gushed!") is "The beer description isn't all that's promising a lot here." So far I'm getting what I bargained for. Some smoky, savory, almost charcoal-like aromas come out quickly along with the dominant Brett and sourness. Gets boozier with warmth, bringing along some bourbony, oaky vanilla, and malt sweetness. It's smells like a good wild ale, with a really good bourbon barrel aged brown ale or barleywine underneath. To boot, the aromas don't clash; they're just deep, complex, and inviting.
Taste: First sip: Big tangy Brett funk right away, followed very quickly by chocolaty caramel, giving way to an incredibly long vanilla and bourbon finish. The aftertaste isn't kidding around; it lasts a good 2 minutes and fills my mouth with bourbony goodness.
Subsequent sips follow the same pattern of somewhat sour, well-developed Brett funk quickly penetrated by toffee, caramel, and deep, (appropriately) barleywine caliber malt, ending with vanilla and a slight sour acidity and boozy warmth. The front end has a lot of bourbon characteristics as well. The disparate elements of the beer are actually a lot more well-married than one would reasonably expect. Bourbon and Brett; pastries, sourness, and leather; vanilla, tangy funk, hot alcohol, and some lingering hop bitterness. Writing them down, these combos don't look like they make sense, but they really do. They also balance a lot more smoothly and naturally than you would expect. It's not "Wow, this is weird but it works," but simply, "Wow, this really works." It's only weird if you isolate its elements and apply preconceptions to it.
I'm tempted to give this beer a 5.0 for taste, but as often is the case with a barleywine, I think the depth of the malt could have gone even further. However, the actual flavor vindicates the seemingly crazy idea of trying to balance a big American barleywine with bourbon and Brett. It delivers for the Brett lover and for the barleywine lover, so if you love both, you'll love this beer.
Mouthfeel: Fuller side of medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Smooth but not creamy. Occasionally borders on unpleasantly oily, which is in my opinion the beer's only actual flaw besides "could do what it does already, only more pronouncedly." Despite that, it's just sugary enough, just bitter enough, just sour enough, etc.
Drinkability: I've been working on this bottle for two hours, and I'm still in love with it. It's definitely more of a special occasion beer than a go-to, and I was going to give it a 4.5, but it gets a bonus .5 for making good on a ridiculous, impossible promise to the drinker. I look forward to splitting my last bottle with my friend after 6~12 months of aging.
As I'm sure is clear by now (probably annoyingly belabored even), I expected a lot from this beer, and honestly didn't believe the combination it promised could work as well as it does. It's like someone saying "You like tuna, you like ice cream, you like bacon, you like limes, well here you go: bacon tuna lime ice cream!" Not only does the beer actually deliver the promised elements, but they work together, and none of them overpower any of the others. Barrel aged Old Dipsea with Brett is really a brilliant beer.
09-14-2010 03:37:41 | More by Pahn
More User Reviews:
4.93/5 rDev +25.1%
I think my favorite thing about bourbon barrel aged beers is the different elements of the bourbon that shine, depending on the style of beer. Dipsea does not disappoint in the slightest.
copied from the improper place---
The nose is almost of a red wine, very fruity and sweet. The taste is as sweet without being cloying and complex without being pretentious. Notes of toffee and caramel are pretty dominant. 9.5% abv is nothing to sneeze at, but in the current bal-age market is actually pretty low.
All in all, I think dipsea is dope. I want more. I think I will get more. Tomorrow.
(upon second drinking today, I was even more impressed. The bourbon is so perfectly integrated. it's not a beer with bourbon notes, its a strange beer/bourbon chimera. great stuff)
Serving type: bottle
Reviewed on: 06-01-2010 23:02:56
07-18-2010 16:30:38 | More by gregmoscetti
4.22/5 rDev +7.1%
Thanks to bman1113vr for sharing this bottle.
The beer pours a slightly hazy brown color with an off-white head. The aroma is caramel, toffee, dark fruit and butterscotch. The flavor is brett, chocolate, bourbon, oak, vanilla and butterscotch. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. Great beer.
06-22-2010 05:12:36 | More by Mora2000
3.8/5 rDev -3.6%
Enjoyed at Blue Palms with koufax21, bonerhog & my monster. Pours out looking like muddled homebrew with its murkiness and lack of head. Brown. Aroma, oxidized sweetness, enjoyable, heavy, mild soggy wood.
Taste, didn't taste oxidized, which is a mixed bag when it comes to barleywines anyways, sometimes its nice, sometimes not so nice. A bunch of caramel. A little bit of leather. More like an English barleywine, or maybe somewhere in between, because it isn't like the hops aren't there, but the bitterness isn't there either. Marin leans English in their styles anyways. Sweet booziness, was this a bourbon barrel or a brandy barrel, because I'd lean brandy if I didn't know better. Brett character didn't reveal any drying aspect, couldn't really get a mouthfeel for it. Low carbonation levels reveal a little bit of coconut.
Overall, a good option for $15 a bottle at a bar in Hollywood. Nice to see a barleywine made that isn't as big as can be.
10-18-2012 20:54:57 | More by Beerandraiderfan
3.9/5 rDev -1%
Hmm so this beer was "intentionally" infected, was it? Interesting...
A fairly nice pour, this beer has. The color is a deep translucent reddish-amber-brown, and a light beige head sticks around atop the beer for some time.
Aroma is interesting. Your usual notes of caramel malt, toffee, bourbon, -bal, and vanilla are all there. Some hops as well. Then you get a slight bretty aspect that really isn't too disconcerting at all. I'll be damned.
Flavor is mostly sweet, but there is just the slightest hint of cherry-like tartness. Huge caramel malts and toffee, smooth bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Very slight funk from the 'myces.
Surprisingly smooth and slick on the 'feel given the brett presence. Feels for the most part like the usual version. Medium-full body with good carbonation level for the style.
Fairly drinkable. I'm surprised to have really enjoyed this beer after expecting it to be a train wreck.
07-16-2010 22:21:12 | More by nickd717
3.98/5 rDev +1%
650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 bottle.
Appearance - Pours without much of a head. Some off white foam. Thin collar.
Smell - Bourbon . Sharp bright alcohol flavor. Not a ton of oak. Some caramel.
Taste - Lots of caramel. Bourbon. Vanilla. No real oakiness. Some sharp acidic notes, but it doesn't taste like brett. Could just be barrel.
Mouthfeel - A little boozier than the regular version. Medium carbonation.
Overall - Good stuff. Sharp flavors that work very well.
04-23-2013 22:47:20 | More by Alieniloquium
4.33/5 rDev +9.9%
2009 22oz bottle ordered at Toronado for a surprisingly reasonable price of $20. This was the Brett version.
Appearance – Pours into a supplied tulip with a cloudy dark red hue (well I think it was…it was pretty damn dark in the bar). About a finger of off white head bubbles up after the pour.
Smell – A nice funky smell from the brett mixed in with sweet caramel, vanilla, oak, tannins, and vinegar. As the beer warms a cherry aroma begins to waft from the glass.
Taste – I rather enjoy “infected” Barleywines. I enjoyed 2008 BA Decadence, had an infected BA barleywine at LadyFace a few days before this beer, and wanted to try this for that very reason. That said, this was rather pleasant. The brett is not so in your face to detract from the barleywine, but lends a nice bite to the beer that keeps its sweetness in check. You get a slight pucker with the initial sip that tastes like tart dark cherries. Then the vanilla and oak kick in, along with burnt molasses and caramel. As the beer warm the bourbon shows its self a bit more (though it is not overly prominent in this beer) along with the oak.
Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, decent carbonation, finishes dry.
Overall – I polished ¾ of the bomber off myself then gave the rest to a random guy who had been eyeing it (he was quite stoked to get it and was enjoying it when I left). The beer was easy to drink for such a high ABV. It was also easy to consume due to the brett cutting the normal overt sweetness from big barleywines. Should have bought another to go, but was not thinking at the moment. I would have this again for sure. I did pick up a 2011 “non” infected version so I’ll have to open that eventually to see how it compares.
02-17-2012 02:54:56 | More by SpdKilz
2.73/5 rDev -30.7%
Bottle shared by chswimmer. Thanks, Craig. This is the 2009 vintage aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for 10 months with brettanomyces, which was released in 2010. The only thing that differentiates this from the regular Old Dipsea is a sticker over the label that says "Bourbon Barrel Aged for Ten Months" with the vintage printed in the center.
The body is a chestnut brown color, dark but translucent with good clarity. It's topped by a small off-white head.
It smells quite unlike previous batches of Barrel Aged Old Dipsea. It's leathery and fruity with a very apparent bourbon presence. There's a tart cherry character right up there with the bourbon and oak, a bit of sweet toffee and a somewhat uncharacteristic whiff of cola that reminds me of Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke.
Lightly sweet, caramelized malts and cherry-like fruit flavors hit the tongue first, but it has many layers of flavor. Bourbon, pineapple, leather, and an ever-present note of cola. Rich and full bodied with a dry, tannic mouthfeel and a lingering tobacco and oak finish. This slightly exceeds expectations, but only because it sounded like a trainwreck to begin with. I'm disappointed that they messed with a good formula.
05-26-2010 20:45:17 | More by largadeer
4.65/5 rDev +18%
Pours a dark ruby brown and around a finger of thick, rich caramel colored head with lots of retention, fair lace. Aroma is richly complex with malts, toffee, maple, even a bit of coffee, then the brett character adds another twist with red berries and a rustic character that meshes very well with the bourbon.
The initial flavors I get are a lovely combination of bourbon and butterscotch, not boozy or cloying, a very nice balance between malt and alcohol, which is what a barleywine should be all about. Maple are also there and a pervasive, yet attractive funk is there that brings out some fruit qualities. The finish has juniper berries, butterscotch chips, and a long caramel malt endnote. Full body, maybe the barrel thinned it out just a touch though, despite the lovely head (which is indicative of carbonation) I found this one settles into my desired level of low-moderate CO2.
I was a little concerned about the brettanomyces character in this beer, why mess with a perfectly sound formula? Well, I can admit that this works exceptionally well. The funk is light and highlights the malt, and the bourbon is present but never quite takes over. I have had this twice in the last week, it is drinking wonderfully fresh, highly recommended. It will also be interested to see where the brett takes this beer, though I do think it is ready to drink now.
06-24-2010 04:02:15 | More by vacax
4.05/5 rDev +2.8%
2009 vintage aged for 10 months in bourbon -bals -- looks just like the profile pic above with no mention of brett
a - pours a turbid deep brown color with a one-inch caramel head, decent retention and lacing, very cloudy
s - big charred oak and bourbon aroma, caramel/brown sugar, light red wine notes underneath the bourbon -bal aroma, hints of black licorice and mint, surprisingly
t - caramel and brown sugar along with a unique light tartness up front from the brett, midpalate and finish dominated by big charred oak and bourbon flavors, a bit hot, the brett character is very light and is overwhelmed by the bourbon and smokiness, surprisingly dry on the finish
m - full-bodied with moderate carbonation, about spot-on for the style, nicely balanced finish and on the dryer side for the style, big alcohol warming
d - not overly drinkable, but for the style, pretty good, the balanced finish adds to the drinkability, but the big bourbon flavors detract a little
I was skeptical of this beer based on the description despite the good reviews. It surprised on the good side, but the -bal aging was taken a bit too far for my palate. I really like the base beer and the previous sample of the -bal aged Old Dipsea that I've had, but it seems the -bal aging overwhelmed this incarnation a bit. That said, still a very good beer and I like the light influence of the brett.
07-04-2010 16:26:10 | More by WeisGuy
3.63/5 rDev -7.9%
Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter. This was opened during a BA Barleywine tasting.
Pours a cloudy reddish brown with hardly any head. This one is just a little tart, due to the brett I'm sure. There is a pleasant sweetness throughout the taste with a slight bitterness in the finish. The bourbon note is rather mild but there is a noticeable alcohol burn. The sweet and tart notes work together, but this one didn't blow me away.
02-07-2013 05:12:26 | More by oline73
3.69/5 rDev -6.3%
Pours a hazy brown color with a smallish light tan head that recedes to leave some very minimal lacing.
Aromas begin with some tart sourness and light oakiness. As it warms I get some more caramelized malt backbone and some dark cherry fruitiness. Comes across as muddled however.
The tastes begin with a solid toffee and brown sugar maltiness. Next you get a slight bid of tart sour cherries and an muddy vanilla bourbon induced flavor. The brett yeast adds a complexity to the flavor profile but doesn't come across as a harmonious melange. The oak and dark fruit flavors emerge more and more as it warms. Some hop bitterness still lingers in the background into the finish.
Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with a moderate to low carbonation. FInish is pleasantly dry thanks to the brett yeast.
Overall this was okay but not really a great beer. The brett yeast seems to have been asked to do too much to too hoppy of a base beer and the flavors fail to creat a harmoinous balance even after 3+ years. Drinks like less than 9% but you really dont want too much.
04-20-2013 23:32:54 | More by claspada
4.68/5 rDev +18.8%
Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to psiweaver for a chance to try this. I think I'm reviewing the correct one. It has the same "2009 Bourbon Barrel Aged for Ten Months" sticker as the pic.
3.5 A: Super dark brown color. Nearly black. One and a half fingers of fizzy beige head that falls quickly and doesn't leave any lacing.
4.0 S: Yep, this is the brett one. That was easy enough to figure out. Lots of funk in there and also some fairly assertive acetic acid. Perhaps the brett brought a few friends along as I've never had this much acid from brett alone. Brett is horsey and barnyard and with the bourbon there is leather, oak, and vanilla. I can't smell much of the underlying barleywine except for some plum and raisin fruitiness. The funk and bourbon are the main attraction here. As the beer warms a bit, caramel and toffee maltiness comes out as well as stronger bourbon aroma.
5.0 T: Wow. I'm really amazed at how well this beer comes together in the taste. I thought it would be a mess, but it's anything but. Somehow the brett, bourbon, and barleywine form a holy union of deliciousness. Barnyard funk is a perfect complement to the leather, oak, and vanilla bourbon. I never would have guess that to be the case. The acetic acid in the nose is hard to come by in the taste and I think it's absence is for the best. The barleywine gets to shine alongside the bourbon and funk this time. Rich toffee and caramel. Plum, raisin, currant, and perhaps even some black cherry. Booze is barely noticeable, but it's presence is well received.
4.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Very creamy and very smooth. No problems here.
5.0 D: This is one hell of a beer. There's so much right with nothing wrong. Unlike a lot of bourbon barrel brews, the bourbon in this is complementary and doesn't steal the show. The addition of funk played out better than I ever could have imagined.
09-04-2010 04:40:11 | More by DavoleBomb
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Old Dipsea With Brett from Marin Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 87 ratings.