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15th Anniversary Wood Aged | Great Divide Brewing Company

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15th Anniversary Wood Aged15th Anniversary Wood Aged

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Mebuzzard on 06-07-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 250 | Ratings: 295
Photo of Sammy
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Hopcat. Medium golden colour with off white head. Coconut taste from barreling, and very bitter near astringency in finish.A lot of hops, mouthfeel is medium in consistency. Aroma is malty. Wasn't crazy about this one.A sipper that was not greatly drinkable.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An intensely complicated and complex beer that bridges the gap with IPA's and Barleywines but with a supurb amount of oak flavoring.

The beer brings a deeply rich looking golden with amber highlights. Smooth carbonation builds a creamy 1" head that lasted well into the session, leaving a good amount of lacing behind. A light haze persists because of obvious dry-hopping.

A complex and rich blend of aromas begin with the deeply caramelized malts that bring on the syrupy aromas and estery fruitiness of English Barleywines. Soon come the fruity onset of hops with orange peel, pineapple, floral nectars, and soft pine notes. A mix of vanilla and oak round out the nose.

Richly malty flavors of caramel, toffee, molassas, and sorgum hit the tongue with mouth-coating flavors. Citrus and tropical fruits from hops and esters give a sweet, earthy, zesty, and peppery character to the beer that keeps the malts from dominating. The oak gives a great, soft woody, nutty flavor with strong hints of vanilla, coconuts, almonds, and woodsy spiciness.

A very easy beer to drink despite being quite sweet and lacking dryness of IIPA's. But the beer never pushes into Barleywine gravities either. The heavy hop additions did little to balance the barley sweetness. A light dry powdery texture comes in from the oak and helps but only to a degree. Still, the beer never cloys and ultimately finishes with a soft caramel sweetness.

A tremendous beer that doesn't fit nicely into styles but is largely complex; giving a new flavor experience with each sip and keeping me chasing the beer all the way to the bottom of the tulip.

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Photo of brentk56
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy burnt sienna with a huge head that clumps as it descends and sticks all over the sides of the pint glass

Smell: Pina colada, vanilla and oak with earthy hops underneath

Taste: Bread and caramel, up front, with growing elements of pina colada and vanilla; by mid-palate, there is a relentless burst of pithy and earthy hop bitterness; after the swallow, the bitterness turns a bit citrusy, though the sweet, woody and vanilla/coconut flavors are very pronounced

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: A lot of complexity and very interesting but ultimately tough to consume; the tropical fruit sweetness, the booziness and the bitterness ultimately fail to come together as a drinkable whole

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep amber orangey color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of vanilla is more dominant then expected with some notes floral hops with light citrus notes as well. Taste is a nice mix between some vanilla from the oak with some notes of floral hops with more bitter hops also noticeable and a deep rich caramel malt backbone. The vanilla brings this one closer to a barleywine territory but renders the whole thing interesting. Body is quite full with great carbonation and no signs of alcohol. Interesting take on the style.

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Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep and saturated caramel tone, like bourbon. Stiff foam that sticks well with random puffs of sticky, sparkling lace. Bottled back in June, this is 4 months old. Not a huge nose, but the oak is noticeable, a little fruity cantaloupe and vanilla accents. Hops have faded a little, but are still expressed in the flavor. Full bodied and sticky, soft oak and resinous hop bitterness. Long residual bittersweet toffee in the aftertaste. Alcohol is fairly hidden, but 10% is certainly felt. Caramel toffee, vanilla, with an earthy hop flavor. Overall it's pretty smooth and easy drinking. For my money i'll stick with FFF Blackheart though.

This review brought to you by google cache. Gonna back up reviews from now on...

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Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy/copper color with a thick, long-lasting, tall head of off-white foam. It left behind sticky patches of lace.

S - It smelled woody and floral with citrus and raisin notes. Some caramel malt aromas, too.

T - It was spicy and sweet at the same time with a bitter hoppy bite. Citrus and oak flavors were also present.

M - It was smooth and soft with a somewhat sticky mouthfeel. A medium to full-bodied brew.

D - I'm glad I got to try this anniversary beer. It was unique and very good.

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Photo of nickfl
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers of off-white foam on top of a clear, orange-brown body. The rocky head settles slowly to a half inch of tenacious foam that leaves dense lace.

S - Lots of oak and spicy hops. Vanilla, pine, grapefruit and coconut with toasted caramel malt.

T - Sweet, thick malt up front. Toffee and light caramel blended with oak and vanilla. The malt is slowly pushed aside spicy hops and strong bitterness. Grapefruit hops work with the malt to create tobacco and charcoal flavors in the finish along with distinct wood notes.

M - Thick, creamy body, moderate carbonation, and a dry, slightly astringent finish.

D - Very nice oak character, especially in the nose. The base DIPA is good with an emphasis on malt, but sufficient hops. My only complaint is the astringent bitterness, which is odd as this is not a crushingly bitter beer, though I guess there would have to be quite a few IBUs under the hood to balance all the malt and alcohol in this one. Well worth trying, and considering the way it hides its alcohol, it's even relatively easy to drink (for a huge DIPA anyway).

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Photo of jlindros
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber to snifter glass.

A: Brilliantly clear with bright reddish rosy brown hue, nice frothy 1 finger head

N: Nose of some nice noble hops with lots of oak and vanilla, lots of sweet oak

T: Taste starts creamy and lots of oak, some vanilla from the oak, smooth woody characteristics and earthy tones, spicy noble hops, a little bit of citrus from the hops, a strange bitter nagging sense on the back of the tongue, alcohol comes out pretty well and is not too overbearing

M: Creamy frothy thick on the tongue

F: Finish is a little sweet that dries quickly and brings out more oak and vanilla as well as spicy hops

Final Thoughts: the oak is ridiculous on this one, more oaky than many of the other oaked ipas, but the hops are a little less prevelant, nice taste, hard to drink with the crazy oak and hops as well as sweetness. This might have too much oak and too little hops, but I remember the regular IPA from Great Divide was so-so, and this is much better.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Glowing candle flame orange with highlights of golden honey. The beer is capped with an impressively large, impressively creamy, impressively sticky crown of milkshake-like foam that is beginning to deposit a masterpiece in lace all over the upper reaches of the glass.

Thanks to having been aged on French and American oak, the aroma is both interesting and sneakily complex. Unfortunately, it isn't as pungently hoppy as it might have been. The vanilla-like aromas imparted by the wood are especially prominent. This big bruiser probably won't be a hop bomb, but it should still be good beer.

Great Divide would have been better served calling 15th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA something other than a Double IPA because it doesn't deliver the hoppiness that beer of that style needs to deliver. If a hop-forward beer is going to be aged on <whatever>, then it needs to have an *insane* amount of hops to start with.

A stated IBU count of 90 is entirely possible (especially when a gargantuan amount of malt sugars are factored in), but good hop flavor is lacking. Warm-hot alcohol is in short supply as well, which is amazing in a 10.0% beer that hasn't yet reached its 3 month anniversary (bottled on Jul 02 2009).

None of the above is to suggest that this brew is anything but good, just that it's more of an American strong ale than a DIPA. The malt is toasted bready, steely caramel-like and a bit nutty. If the beer was sweeter, brown sugar notes might have been appreciated. The English and American hops add a solid beat-down of bitterness and a moderate amount of herbal-fruity flavor. Finally, the oak barrel woodiness is appreciated and vanilla bean is still going strong.

The mouthfeel could not be more heavily silky smooth. I could tell by the look and sound of the pour that this stuff would be a mouth caresser par excellence. The gentle bubbles do their work behind the scenes, which is exactly as it should be.

15th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA, while not one of Great Divide's most inspired offerings, is still enjoyable big beer. Think of it as an oaky American barleywine or strong ale and your expectations will be more easily met. I'm pretty sure that age won't do this brew any favors, so pop the cap before the snow flies.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An amalgamation of reviews taken at the Brick Store Pub and later Taco Mac in Buford, GA.

Appearance: Served up a clear, mahogany-hued body with a smallish, though lasting white head. Scant lacing on the way down.

Smell: Sweetish, caramelly malts coupled with ground vanilla and sturdy oak wood. Hops delivers some whiffs of grapefruit, resin, as well as hints of other tasy tropical fruits. A sniff or two of basic alcohol.

Taste: Quality pale malts with what seems to be crystal malts yielding a candyish, caramel-minded sweetness. The taste plunges into a strong oak flavor right from the get-go. Earthy, citrusy, resinous hop presence with a moderate amount of bitterness dispensed. Also, some tropical fruits -- touches of mango and papaya. Geez Louise, there's a lot of oak in this thing, delivering plenty of vanilla and spicy wood qualities. More caramel-coated grains on the latter half. The finish is dry, bitter, and adequately warming.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Smooth, delicately sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Well, it's nice to have an anniversary brew that doesn't pull any punches. While Great Divide's 15th Anniversary is certainly satisfying and a joy to drink, it was also quite a task to finish off each helping.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle with a bottled on date of 6/4/2009, into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains floral hops, caramelized malts, fruity citrus and the faint essence of oak aging.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel and citrus. The oak aging is evident up front as well. Then a strong hops bitterness comes in along with a strong alcohol bite. The malt character is hearty and brings some balance. Like many aged 2IPA's, this one tastes more barleywine-like as it sits for a few minutes and the flavors harmonize some. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, slightly filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it's good beer but there are several others that I would choose in the style first.

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Photo of mothman
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into New Belgium Globe Glass

Pours over 2 fingers of beige head. Pretty good retention leaving some very thick lace. Color is a dark ruby hued caramel.

Aroma: Wow, I am really enjoying the smell. It is very complex. Very nice oak and vanilla flavors complemented by big earthy hops and a big citrus blend. A ton of grapefruit citrus is present.

Taste: Wow, the vanilla and oak combination don't feel like being pushed around by the hops. Right up front. It is almost overwhelming here. Huge vanilla taste, followed by some caramel. Then comes so earthy/floral hops and some grapefruit and pineapple citrus. The taste is quite unique.

Mouthfeel: A little bitter, I can taste the booze here, but it is somewhat smooth. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends with a big vanilla and oak flavored aftertaste, fairly clean.

Overall, this beer is pretty big. I wish I had a buddy over right now, as I am realizing I will have a tough time finishing it. I didn't expect this from a dipa, but at 10% maybe I should have reconsidered. Not a bad beer, but a ton of vanilla and oak in the taste that can become overwhelming.

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Photo of russpowell
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another from my Goebel's Wichita beer haul...

Pours copper with 3+ fluffy fingers of peach colored head. very good head retention & lacing

S: Breadyness, lemons, booze; once warm, along with toffee

T: Pineyness, toffee, oakyness, dryness, vanilla & grapefruit are all there up front. Oakyness, vanilla, dryness & a mix of tangerine & grapefruit are all in good quantity as this warms. Finishes with vanilla, pineapple, passion fruit, oakyness, pineyness & grapefruit

MF: Medium bodied, smooth, good balance, skews a touch too dry for me.

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV & style, complexity & dryness slow me down a bit. A worthy Anniversary beer, let's see one from Great Divide every year please!

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Photo of smcolw
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear, warm amber color. Great head that leaves a lot of chunky lace on the glass.

Clean hop aroma--not overwhelming, slightly sweet. No wood.

Good malt base. Well-balanced but has a great bitter finish. Again, deceptively normal--not extreme at all. I never detect any alcohol in the nose or palate. Full bodied with good carbonation. A super easy beer to drink and yet fulfills all of the DIPA expectations.

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Photo of stakem
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken 7/23/10.

Bottle date of 6/19/09. I had this brew fresh last year and never got around to reviewing it. Strangely enough some bottles popped up right around the time the new anniversary was released.

A careful pour still introdices quite a bit of yeast chunks into the glass. Bomber split with a friend and poured into a SA sensory glass. This brew appears a very hazed orange-amber color that has an appearance flirting on the edge of being a cider. The head appears more than a finger strong and retains very well with a fluffy uneven cratored surface. The color of the foam is a merange-like yellow that laces all about the glass.

The aroma is a very strong sweet smelling blast of caramel, vanilla and orang- like citrusy rind from the hops. Surprising how bold the hoppy character is after a year spent on the bottle.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. The taste includes both herbal and earthy hops upfront with some citrus twang that leads into a caramel malty sweetness. The base of this brew includes a solid amount of vanilla flavoring brought on by the oaking. A modest amount of alcohol is evident tasting slightly solvent. This brew leaves a lingering flavor of woodsy dryness that is exaggerated by the herbal hops and alcohol. The alcohol increases in the back of the throat along with a bolder sense of darker caramelized sugary sweetness. Very drinkable and a beer I would suggest giving a try even if it is in celebration of a previous year!

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Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mora2000!
Poured into tulip glass:

Pours hazed orange amber with a thin tan head that stays. Dotted lacing at first, then plenty of wispy lacing, sticks.

The smell is of big hops - citrusy, piney, spicy with even bigger caramel candy. Vanilla/oak adds a unique layer of complexity that is done well.

The taste is of sweet resin, vanilla/oak, caramel. Hoppy citric/piney/tropical fruit, slightly floral flavors come through, but not much of the bitterness. Stays sweet with loads of caramel and vanilla/oak. Not too boozy, esp. for 10% abv, though some alcohol dryness comes through in the sweet finish.

Its ample, yet not fizzy, carbonation lends smoothness. It just hits full-bodied. Smooth despite high abv.

Dangerously drinkable, the oak is there but not overdone. Hoppy in flavor, with plenty of caramel, it is on the sweet side of things. According to the label, it is based on the Denver Pale ale, so has English and American hops. French and American oak chips are used. A nicely done, pretty complex, strong yet drinkable, DIPA - Congrats on 15 - Here's to many more!

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Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, foil top, label has bottled on dating as well as suggested food pairings info, nice. Pours pretty typical amber, medium khaki head, soft and creamy, and leaving more then ample fine sheeting and lace. Soft woody nose, leads to a super smooth and tasty, with plenty of malt smoothing the way, then overlayed with soft/subtle Brit hopping. Super creamy mouthfeel. Classy and satisfying sipper. Well done GD

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's their Denver Pale with some twists.
More hops and aged in American and French oak.
Clear copper pour, a bit of ruby in there as well. Medium head, soft and dense.

Yes, oak in the nose. Minimal sharpness to it. Vanilla blends fairly well with the hops and citrus. To say this is a IIPA by smell is, perhaps, a bit of a stretch.
Taste is a bit more hoppy, which is nice. Good citrus and pine, some flower. Nice malt backbone to keep the oak and hops in check. When I think of oak I think of Avery's Samael, which tears me up..a bit harsh. This has a soft presence of oak and vanilla without the sharpness. That is left up to the hops, and they do a fair job. Good finish to it. I could have had another, but went for their Heart of Darkness.

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Photo of Gavage
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear amber in color with a thin 1" head with big bubbles. The head lasts a bit. Nice lace develops.

Smell: pine, grapefruit, and earthiness rise easily from the glass.

Taste: big caramel, pine, grapefruit, nice amount of vanilla, and some wood tones with a mild earthiness. Bitterness is big but in check. Alcohol is mild overall.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Smooth throughout with a dry finish. Aftertaste is long as the flavors last on the tongue.

Drinkability: this is a slow sipping big beer. Alcohol will creep up on you with this one. Nice flavors but more than one bomber in a session wouldn't work for me.

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Photo of Tone
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, amber color. One and one half inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of hops, sweet malt, and strong alcohol. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial IPA. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly thick with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops up front, then sweet malt, alcohol, and slight citrus. Wow, the aftertaste is of strong liquor - never had a beer taste like this. The warmer the beer the less harsh the liquor flavor, but still noticeable. I highly recommend this beer, but be forewarned of the alcohol level.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-Tap in a tulip.

Great Divides 15th is a dark amber slight gold color with a nice semi thick caramel head. Some spots of lacing on the way down.

Smells of wood followed by a big DIPA. The hops are next with some pine and slight citrus smells. Reminds me of some american strong ales. Some alcohol comes up but subtle.

15th has a great taste but it's woody as hell. Wood is up front with a nice coat of bittering hops. I'm getting more pine than citrus, perhaps that's the wood and not the hop type used. A malt base is there taming the hops but don't make a significant dent on the palete, this one is mostly wood.

The feel is a bit rough going down with the mix of pine/wood. Some bitterness. This has a medium feel with great carb, at a perfect level for this concoction. The drinkability is hindered by the over the top wood and alcohol so my tulip was enough for me. I don't think I could polish off a bomber of this if I tried.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled September 2009
Bottled July 27th, 2009; Sampled September 2009
A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass quickly produces a four-finger thick, lightly tan colored head. The beer is a nice rich red color that shows a concentrated red-copper hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of oak and hops; notably there is a soft vanillin note & some buttery oak up front that mixes with floral and citrus hop note, while a spicy, woody note mixes with the more herbal and pine hop notes towards the end. The oak actually tends to mute the citrus components of the hops and instead accentuates the more floral, herbal and pine like notes. Notes of orange blossom, herbaceous tangerine, some lychee and bergamot are noticeable here though.

Somewhat rich feeling as it first hits my tongue, there is an unmistakeable viscous heft to this beer that sees it clinging to the palate after each sip. Toasted oak flavors linger in the palate after each sip as does an herbal hop bitterness. This has a nice bitterness throughout, though it is not at a huge level like some Double IPAs; the ample bitterness that is here plays well with the other flavor components. Lots of sticky malt notes contribute to the overall palate presence of this beer, but aside from a touch of crystal malt caramelization don't end up being too overwhelming with all the other flavor notes found here. The mix of spicy oak and herbal hop notes towards the finish can get a touch hot at times. Despite being so thick and viscous feeling this beer really doesn't taste very sweet at all; somehow the mix of flavors produce a richness, but not a lot of sweetness (which is definitely nice). As the beer warms a touch more of the citrus / fruity hop notes start to become more noticeable; orange zest, some lychee, as well as candied tangerine notes.

Not a bad beer, the oak actually manages to integrate itself pretty well with this beer. I do feel like it could stand to be a bit more hop focused, which makes me wonder how much hop character this has lost in the two months since it was bottled.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to pokesbeerdude and portia99 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
Black Foil

Pours a very nice clean/clear golden amber/orange color, nice carbonation, very nice thick/creamy two-finger plus off-white head, with some thick sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, with some nice malt notes, woody, with some citrus. The taste is sweet, hoppy, malty, very nice woody note, and some citrus. Medium body, chewy/oily, nice dry/bitter finish. Very drinkable, really liking this one. Thanks Chuck and Bill.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle

DIPA aged over oak chips, given Great Divide's track record this sounds promising with the potential of being great. Initial pour is a translucent golden orange with a large creamy, dense bubbly tan head that leaves dots of sticky lacing and overall has nice retention. Doesn't look like a typical DIPA but is still very pretty. Aroma starts off oak forward, very sweet and boozy. As the beer warms up, a citrus rind/pulpy aroma starts to blend in also. Again, doesn't smell like a DIPA, the vanilla and oak dominate, but it is fairly unique and pleasant. Body is very smooth and thick with light carbonation. The oak and vanilla flavors dominate like the nose, with strong caramel malt and sugars, and a light citrus hop finish. Not nearly hoppy enough to be a DIPA, but that doesn't mean this isn't a good beer, with sneakily complex flavors. More of a catchall strong ale or something, This would be interesting to see what it's like in a year after all the hops have faded completely.

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Photo of biegaman
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

15th Anniversary definitely looks its age: a rash of bubbles quite reminiscent of acne leave the head spotted just like a pimple-ridden teenager. These bubbles are huge - light reflects through them like a glass prism. Even as the encasement of the head faded those big soapy bubbles were left behind. The white lace they impart stands in sharp contrast to a considerably dark body that combines tones of clementine and under-ripe tomato.

There are some stouts that are not barrel-aged but still smell as though they were - that cannot happen with pale ales or DIPAs. The essence of the wood simply cannot be forged with respect to these styles. In this case, the inclusion of French and American oak chips has imparted an almost phenolic aura, one replete with uber-dynamic notes of fruit and vanilla as well as a lesser contribution that blends spice with sawdust.

There's also a great deal of caramel. In fact, this flavour comes eerily (but deliciously) close to that of a pecan tart. As it warms the sweetness continues to grow and grow until just about every flavour in there tastes as if it has been either candied, flambeed or just simply dipped in some sort of sugary, caramely reduction. This is ultra sweet for a DIPA.

Yet it also contains all the fruits of our lupulin salad; the oak chips seem to have taken all those typical hoppy flavours innate to DIPAs and enhanced them. It has the expected notes of orange and grapefruit but they seem even more acidic, even more citric than usual. Unexpectedly, an enormous likeness to cantaloupe seems to have been struck as has the unusual (but welcomed) taste of brandy flambeed pears and bananas.

The beer is somehow... refined. This is a difficult impression to articulate because frankly the beer is insanely hopped (read: resinous, sappy, acidic, pungent, overtly citrusy) and it is a tad stronger than your average beer (like twice as strong). All that said, however, it seems unusually refined thanks to these abruptly dry and mellowing notes of cedar and oak that smooth the palate over with lush notes of vanilla and sedating spices.

A couple names came straight to mind: Alpine Exponential Hoppiness and Firestone Double Barrel Ale Batch 1000. I would consider both of the aforementioned to be among the best wood-aged beers - whether from barrel or with the chips, all styles included - that I've had the pleasure of trying. I am more than enthusiastic to welcome Great Divide's 15 Anniversary to that list. Oh, and one other name comes to mind: ThatWineGuy, thanks!

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15th Anniversary Wood Aged from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 250 ratings.
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