The Lost Abbey’s Track #8
One of the many things that I love about brewing is the creative flow that some brewers follow. More specifically, when brewing one beer leads to the inspiration of others. For instance, applying finesse in the form of complementary ingredients and maturation methods to a solid base to create an incestuous relationship among the beers.
Take The Lost Abbey’s Track #8 (Number of the Beast), which was inspired by its Judgment Day, a 10.5 percent Quadrupel brewed with raisins, which is the base beer for Cuvee de Tomme, an 11 percent ale brewed with raisins and candi sugar aged in bourbon barrels for a year with sour cherries and Brettanomyces yeast.
Track #8 was part of the Ultimate Box Set, where in 2012 The Lost Abbey released a new “track,” limited to 450 bottles, each month. And at the end of the year, all 12 were offered together as a complete box set. We’re talking 12 375-milliliter corked and wired beers packaged in a black and metal road case with names, label art, and stories inspired by classic songs referencing heaven or hell. There was even a bonus Track #13. Since then, Tracks #8 and #10 (Bat Out of Hell, The Lost Abbey’s Serpent’s Stout aged in bourbon barrels with coffee and cacao nibs) have been re-released three times, and co-founder and director of brewing operations Tomme Arthur tells me that Track #11 (Devil Went Down to Georgia, a Barleywine with peaches and black tea) will make a comeback in August. But let’s get back to this beast.
Although The Lost Abbey had never released a bourbon barrel-aged version of Judgment Day, Arthur explained that after tasting some barrel samples, “it had the profile of an oatmeal raisin cookie,” but that wasn’t enough—the beer needed something else. “So we dropped some chiles and cinnamon on the beer and tied all the notes together.” And thus Track #8 was spawned into existence.
I was damn lucky to try Track #8 from the box set years ago, and here and there over the years at fests. It was one of my favorites from the brewery, and I’m a sucker for chiles, so I was stoked when a new sample made it to my doorstep.
The dark, opaque brown body with a creamy tan head sets the mood, while the aroma smells exactly like a freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookie, complete with cinnamon, spice, baked oats, and childhood memories. There’s a good dose of oak, too. The texture is very smooth with a slight syrupy feel and a bit of chew, but it’s not thick. It definitely has that boozy and dark grape-like Quad base that’s sweet, not cloying. Then delicious layers of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and coconut fold into charred raisin notes and a spicy, peppery hit from the chiles. The finish has a dry doughiness to it, which reinforces the perception of a cookie. And despite its high alcohol, Track #8 is an insanely drinkable beast of a beer that’s been tamed for your enjoyment.
Bad news: Track #8 is on a hiatus, so good luck finding it.
Good news: Raise your horns to the sky. It’s coming back! Arthur says soon, and with an all-new package and a more consumer friendly name. Tomme: If you’re reading this, I think you should call it Krampusplätzchen (Krampus cookie). You’re welcome.
The Lost Abbey | San Marcos, CA
Look: 4 | Smell: 5 | Taste: 5 | Feel: 4 | Overall: 4.5
Todd’s Score: 100 ■