Heaven Hill Fest
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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3.92 | pDev: 0%
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
United States
Notes: Sticke Alt aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. This offering won a silver medal at the Festival of Wood & Barrel Aged Beer held in Chicago on November 7, 2009.
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark chestnut brown that became dark crimson with orange and amber highlights when weak winter sunshine was behind the glass. A slim slice of tan colored froth dissipated quickly, leaving the glass pretty much untouched. Barrel-aged beer strikes again.

There wasn't very much bourbon appreciated in the aroma, which was surprising. It was definitely there, however, along with the brown maltiness and fruitiness of a well-brewed alt. More power might have turned 'good' into 'very good'.

Bourbon was fairly subtle on the palate too, which allowed for a balanced brew instead of a bourbon-blasted one. Both sound appealing to me. Heaven Hill Bourbon Fest was not sweet and was moderately bitter, becoming tighter on the back end of each mouthful as it warmed.

The flavor profile included toasted brown bread, dark caramel, medium-dark fruit, a tea leafiness and good old American whiskey. For whatever reason, the typical vanilla-like notes weren't appreciated and there wasn't much woodiness. Improvement was noted from first sip to last, though the next highest score was never seriously considered.

The oak barrels also seem to have taken a good-sized bite out of the mouthfeel. It was no more than light-medium and the bubbles were edgy rather than soft. It looks like massively malty beer is the only sort that can stand up to prolonged contact with wood.

In the end, Sticke Alt was not improved by the addition of bourbon barrel aging, but then it was pretty good beer to begin with. Heaven Hill Bourbon Fest is definitely worth a look and was an enjoyable way to spend an hour earlier today. Congratulations to wdmrock (Eric) on his medal.

Jan 24, 2010
Heaven Hill Fest from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 1 ratings