Saint Of Circumstance Sour Mash Whiskey Barrel Aged IPA | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

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Saint Of Circumstance Sour Mash Whiskey Barrel Aged IPASaint Of Circumstance Sour Mash Whiskey Barrel Aged IPA

Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Saint of Circumstance Sour Mash Whiskey Barrel Aged IPA married the grassy hop notes of this unique India Pale Ale with the richness of whiskey and oak, creating an enticing brew of exceptional character. The use of a mystery hop means this beer can never be duplicated. Aged 8 months in barrels from a well known Tennessee distillery, we at Berkshire Brewing Company offer up this special brew as a treat to you, our loyal customers. Ad Chris and Gary are fond of saying "Its all about the beer, but the beer is nothing without the people". We hope you enjoy it, and thank you for your support.

Added by davey101 on 04-28-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 53
Photo of silentjay
1.54/5  rDev -58%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

I didn't want to review this since its an obvious infection issue, but it's getting good reviews and I think some people may be confused. (sour mash whiskey is not supposed to be sour, aging it in these barrels should not make a beer sour, unless its inoculated with yeast/bacteria that would make it sour).

This beer is not supposed to be sour. the tartness starts off pleasant enough, but the aftertaste is just horrible. There is no barrel or IPA flavors or scents, only rotten green apple and a metallic finish.

I could not get the taste out of my mouth and it ruined the flavor of the beer I had afterwards as well.

I emailed Berkshire about this issue since the reviews from the brewery and/or on tap are completely different from the reviews from the bottle.

Even if viewed as a "sour" beer, this is just not right, and I love me a good sour.

This will not stop me from buying Berkshire beers, nor even their barrel aged beers (gude greg's was awesome, and there were some uninfected bottles of their bourbon barrel imperial stout from a couple years ago that were sublime), but I just wanted to put the warning out there for anyone looking into buying this beer.

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Photo of woosterbill
2.46/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bomber into an Old Engine Oil snifter, shared at a tasting. Thanks to davey101 for tossing this my way as an extra in an in-person trade.

A: Clear light copper body under a finger of fine off-white froth that dissipates fairly quickly. Ok.

S: Green apple, harsh whiskey, and a bit of oak. Not great.

T: More apple, some acetone, and a boozy, oaky finish. Meh.

M: Light, creamy. Ok.

O: I was really excited about this one, but something seems to have gone awry. A sour mash whiskey isn't sour, and a beer aged in Jack Daniel's barrels shouldn't be sour, either. Anyone who thinks otherwise should complain to Town Hall for making Czar Jack so not at all sour. Anyhow, as much as I love BBC I just can't say that this beer is anything but a failure. I'm really glad I got to try it, though.


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Photo of Gosox8787
3.03/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22 oz. bottle I picked up the other day and have kept refrigerated since. Definitely not a style I've encountered a lot but I'm interested to try this, despite some less than stellar experiences with Berkshire barrel aging in the past.

Appearance: Dark amber to light brown in color with a nice white lacing. Pretty nice and light carbonation.

Aroma: Raw bourbon and green apple notes upfront. Definitely a bit sour, but not overwhelmingly so. There are definitely signs of an early infection here. After the initial raw bourbon character, there are caramel and vanilla notes that balance it out nicely. Some malt character but the hop presence is pretty much nil.

Taste: A touch of sour upfront in the form of green apple. Not over the top sour at all and the infection is definitely lessened by the serving temperature and the fact that it doesn't feel fully developed. Definitely some strong bourbon and vanilla tones, but the bourbon feels not integrated enough. The hop character is non existent here as well. Interesting, but definitely not what I think was intended. Not really bad but not really good either.

Mouthfeel: Very light bodied, eith the carbonation a bit less than expected. Something definitely feels a bit off about this whole beer.

Overall, a really weird and interesting beer that definitely misses the mark with me. Strong signs of a developing infection and bad barrel integration definitely are the drawbacks. Not something I can recommend but not really bad either. I'd pass on this next time.

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Photo of eclipse54
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 22 ounce bottle from FluffyMcTingle; thanks! Into the tulip it goes.

Pours a hazy orange, copper color with over an inch of fluffy, almost frothy off-white head. Good retention, and even better lacing.

The aroma is unique, especially for an IPA. Lots of sour apple and tart pear up front, with some faint grapefruit citrus buried in there. Very sour nose, and I would mistake this for a wild or something if I didn’t already know what it was.

While it’s not nearly as tart in the mouth as the aroma suggests, there are still acidic fruit flavors in the fore. Apple, pear, and even some tart grape jump out, with some light citrus and floral hops behind them. There’s a dry oak flavor towards the end, and it finishes with a vague hint of whiskey.

Mouthfeel is light-bodied, due in no small part to the acidic/sour components. No shortage of carbonation - the bottle even gushed a bit upon removing the cap - and a clean, dry finish.

Overall, it’s hard to see this as an IPA based on the aroma and flavor profile. The barrel aging really did a number on this one, but in a new and interesting way I suppose. There are definitely enjoyable aspects to it, but don't go into it expecting a hoppy, citrusy "IPA."

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Photo of smcolw
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Modest head that leaves very little lace. The color is orange-gold and very cloudy.

Sweet-sour aroma of wild cherry and tart raspberry. This smells far more closely to a Belgian lambic.

Strong and sour malt flavor. This is a low hopped IPA, perhaps because of the power of the body which lasts through the aftertaste. There is an oiliness to the body which likely comes from the alcohol and the whiskey flavor. Rich body with a low carbonation. I would classify this as a Belgian style, not English.

The bottle is correct: This is an unusual beer, worth seeking out if only to experience the difference.

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Photo of stonermouse
3.57/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams glass.

Pours pretty, almost-amber and looks very much like a self-proclaimed "english IPA" should look. A bit hazy for the style, but still nice.

Aroma is quite nice. It smells boozier that it is, which is quite a trick. Some pretty potent oak flavor as well, with something a bit spicy and sour rounding it out. Just a really potent aroma here, with even a touch of pepper.

The taste is crazily all over the map. There's quite a bit of booziness and a touch of whisky, which belies the rather sedate 5.70 abv. The flavor is also quite tart and a little sweet, but almost to the point of distraction. One might think that sweet, tart, and whisky-booze would be a Manhattan-lovers dream, but think again. The flavor rounds out with a margarita-like sourness that just doesn't quite work.

Mouthfeel is decent- viscous with some stickiness in the finish.

This is a strange brew that doesn't much resemble the IPA it purports to be. It is something else entirely, but doesn't quite meld the variety of flavors into anything overly palateable. Try it for something interesting, but you may end up drain-pouring it.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A gift from El Presidente

Cloudy copper with a sticky white head. Sticky looking head I guess as because nothing stuck to my glass. Foamless by mid-glass.

Smells like Tennessee whiskey. The sour mash gives it an almost odd brett twang. Bready once I broke through the JD-esque aroma.

Tastes like light and citrusy bourbon which, though the hops don't make a big impression, are accentuated by the citrus of the IPA. Again brett-like sour mash sweetness.

I like Berkshire's thought process here: A bunch of mystery hops arrive - brew an IPA! Mystery IPA not so good? Fortify it with the properties of bourbon! Here here.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into a CCB pub glass, formed a beige skim over the slightly cloudy coppery amber brew. Skim recedes to simply a swirl promptly, with slow-falling lace. Aroma is sweet with obvious whiskey component.

Taste starts sweet with a tart undercurrent, sour cherry in the middle, and whiskey comes on at the close, and the tart keeps on keeping on. Mouthfeel is reasonably smooth, and drinkability is okay. A notch back on the tart would be preferrable, but you don't always get what you want with BA.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Eric for this one. 22oz bomber into a SA sensory glass. Truly a unique brew.

Pours a 1 finger foamy white head with poor retention. Beer is a semi-clear bronze orange. Lacing is stringy and sparse with little cling. Not much to look at.

Nose is incredibly distinct. Hop presence is almost entirely missing for an IPA. Instead, notes of green apple tartness with a sweet booze character for balance. Strangely enticing. Aromatic.

Opens warm booze. Big malt body with a peat and oak tartness. Some ethanol towards the middle pushed to the background. Finishes tart, woody, and with some nice fruitiness. The slightest hint of hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Real good.

Light bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and refreshing and crisp going down. Mild finish with a slightly lingering aftertaste. Very solid.

I wasn't sure what to make of this beer... and I'm still not sure what to make of it a bomber later. All I know is, its a lot better than I thought it would be and its hugely sessionable. Nice!

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours clear reddish-orange with a two finger white head. The head settles rather quickly. Thin clumps of lacing form broken rings around the glass.

S: Sour mash whiskey (smells a lot like Jack Daniels, actually). Grassy and citrusy hops. Charred oak, vanilla, and barrel juice. Caramel and toffee malt scents. Slight hint of hard minerals beneath it all. The nose is quite pleasing, and everything blends together nicely.

T: Sweet malt tastes open. Thin caramel, toffee, and biscuit. Light tartness. Hops kick in mid-palate with a spike of lemony citrus, tangerine, and grass. Sour mash whiskey comes to the forefront toward the end. Barrel tastes dominate the finish, with charred oak and vanilla drying things out and lingering for a good while.

M: Medium bodied. Low carbonation. Creamy, a bit fluffy, and very smooth. A very nice mouthfeel.

O: Barrel aged IPAs have never really been my thing, and a whiskey barrel aged one didn't sound very appealing initially. But people I trust assured me that this was a beer worth drinking, and they were right. The whiskey and barrel tastes turned out to be a nice compliment to the more English leaning IPA base beer. The hint of tartness makes me wonder if there is an infection developing though. It definitely seemed out of place.

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Photo of ghostwalker
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange body. Thin, steadily replenishing, creamy, off-white head.

Nose is JD barrels with a soured sweetness that is almost Brett-like.

Flavor is not at all what I expected. Light malt, whiskey not that noticeable, huge sour on the finish. And Houston, I think we might have some Brett here! Surely that big sour apple bite is not solely from the sour mash... Interesting and really unique flavors. Much less hops than the label IPA might suggest.

Mouthfeel is crisp, clean and slightly slick.

Overall, very good. Not a huge drinkability, but I like it.

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Photo of jlindros
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm really interested in a sour mash whisky barrel aged IPA, this should be really interesting.

The head took a bit of time to rise up and looked like it would be minuscule, but it eventually got to a fluffy 1/2 finger head that faded at a med pace with bits of lacing. It's a fairly clear slight chill hazed honey orange color.

Nose is a blend of IPA and whisky, who would have thunk it. Mostly whisky at first, bourbon like sweet malt aroma, with a bit of vanilla barrel, toasted oak, and a light fresh whisky aroma. Hops bring a light citrusy and grassy earthy pop in the background, with hints of orange and tangerine, and some sweet juicy malts.

Taste is even more unique, starting with a slight sour malt flavor, like the sour mashed whisky imparted the sour portion of itself somehow. Then whisky again, more of a bourbon flavor like the dregs of a bottom of the barrel of bourbon, also bringing some vanilla and toasty slight buttery oak, and light saw dust like. The IPA underneath is light and rounded, with some sweet juicy reddish malts, along side the semi bitter earthy hops that give a bit of bitterness but not much, with very light orange and tangerine flavors, slightly herbal grassy touch as well. The tartness carries through, almost as if the beer itself soured slightly in the barrel, which is also possible, and gives the feel of a slight fruity flavor. The finish is a bit sweet still with sticky feel, light lingering bourbon and barrel, as well as some of the sweetish malts and light fruity hops.

Mouth is med to slightly heavier feeling bodied, with lighter but decent enough carb.

Overall interesting but not great, the hops are pretty much lost, as well as the bitterness. The malts add a bit, but mostly its a bourbon barrel ale like a few of the ones on the market marketed as just a bourbon barrel ale. The soured beer flavor is actually kinda nice and makes me thing this would go great in a live cask, but still an interesting beer.

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Photo of inandon
3.96/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour - deep brown with a hint of red slight foaminess

Smell - whiskey, oaked age deliciousness with a cider smell to it. Cider gone bad :)

Taste - not very hoppy, taste of apply pie with a hint of whiskey

Great beer, with some malty-ness to it with a heavy taste of apples.

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Photo of SABERG
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a modified tulip.

A - Very light copper, small head, lots of standing lace. On a side note the bottle is a print on glass of two founders over a barrel!

S - Hints of sour, apricots, biscuit, dark cherrie, and as it warms leather.

T - Smooth, sour mash was good choice, the original IPA blends well. The taste has short linger and a welcome sour snap.

M - Some oil, some tart, and a linger that is sweet.

O - A fine offering, balanced between the sour, The IPA, the malt. Seek out and enjoy.


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Photo of davey101
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saint Of Circumstance IPA aged in Jack Daniels barrels for 8 months.

10 oz pour from the sampling room at BBC. I was also able to grab a few 22 oz bombers across the street from the brewery.

A - Dark amber body with a fluffy three finger off white head. There was a nice lace happening, but the pour was into a ridged plastic cup that I drank quite quickly so the beer never got a chance for the head to really settle.

S - Very strong biscuity malt backbone with some piney and light citrus hops. Some grass and earthiness in the middle. The finish is oaky with some vanilla and char.

T - Biscuity malts with some piney and grassy hops. I'm not sure what the "mystery" hop is but I get some light grapefruit and smoke. The finish is smooth and oaky with faint hints of vanilla and butterscotch. The whiskey barrel notes are very subdued but seem to balance out the light bitterness. Mouth feel is medium and kind of chewy.

O - I was fairly impressed with the standard beer, it was an oddly smokey and malty IPA. The whiskey barrels just compliment the hell out of this. Exceptional stuff! I had this during the BBC tour and many members of the group tried this beer and also loved it.

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Photo of bernie879
4.39/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Killian's pint glass, a 1" white head formed and dissipated relativly quickly releasing a bouquet of pungent, citrusy sour aromas. Further whiffs included oak and the slightest hints of vanilla.

The mouthfeel has a pleasant smoothness coupled with a medium body. The carbonation is relativly subdued which allows the flavors of the barrel to come out and be the major character of the beer. This is not an understatment, this thing is all barrel. I've had the regular S.O.C. a few times and this is nothing like it. The beer really serves as a medium for the barrel flavors to latch onto, creating an extremly refreshing, tart and tasty treat. All the strong flavors coming out in the nose hit the palate just as strong.

This is my kind of summer ale.

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Photo of JustHarmless
4.42/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a Bomber bottle that was hidden in the back of a cooler at the Spirit Haus in Amherst, MA. Poured into my trusty chalice glass.

Appearance-Clear copper color with a thin white head and lots of nice lacing

Aroma- There is a delicious bourbony, whiskey, oak aromas up front. Followed by some nice grassy, citrusy aromas, including apricot and orange

Taste- Wow! Whiskey up front with a vinegary flavors. Followed by citrusy tones, mainly orange and apricots. Not getting a lot of pine notes. Overall, it has the flavor of a sour ale

Mouthfeel- A low, but appropriate, amount of carbonation. A bit oily and tart with a lingering sweetness

Overall- This is a very different beer. Reminds me of a sour, which is from the sour mash aging, which also accounts for its booziness. I didn't think these flavor combinations would work, but it does! Absolutely different, refreshing, out of the box beer! I can't wait to be able to hopefully pick up more!

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Photo of slangtruth
4.47/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presumably the endgame of this famous deviant batch from BBC. As is well documented, late last year they got a bale of hops from a shipment destined for their flagship Lost Sailor IPA which was different from the norm. They went ahead and brewed up a batch of their IPA with this oddball bale of hops, naming it "Saint of Circumstance" (carefully chosen, as the song "SoC" comes after "Lost Sailor" on the Grateful Dead's "Go To Heaven" album). They bottled some as SoC and some as "Franklin County Preservation Trust" IPA last fall, and put some away for a while in Jack Daniels barrels, which they've just released in bombers and on tap for what one must assume is a very limited release. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, the incredibly smoky, fruity and rich aroma could hit you from across the room. The head dissipates almost immmediately, leaving a rich, sweet, very cidery body which really is unlike anything I've tasted before. The original SoC label showed the two brewers puzzling over what they had - the new label shows them triumphantly clinking their glasses over a wooden barrel. Was I impressed? I finished my bomber and walked back down to the store and bought a case. Get it while you can.

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Photo of sentomaster
4.52/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- light brown with copper hughes when held to the light. Translucent enough to see indistinctly to the other side. A soft one finger head of foam quickly dies leaving little gobs of lace.

S- an odd touch of vinegar is immediately detectable, very weird... Maybe some grassy hops, but dominated by a tart acidity and a slight sourness.

T/M- follows the nose directly but expands greatly on it. there's definitely something oddly sour and tart going on here. After getting over the shock of the unexpected and getting my palate acclimated, it's actually quite pleasing and refreshing. Again the hops are too dominated it to clearly to pull out their characteristics, but they are present; as well as strong base of pale and crystal malt. or maybe its the sweetness of the whiskey barrel making me think the malt is stronger than it is. the barrel definitely adds a rich vanilla, oak, and sour apple complexity

O- every sip is more pleasing with a sharply tart and sour cherry finish, but isn't too harsh to prevent you from immediately wanting more. The whiskey plays so nicely I nearly forgot that it was there, very sublime. At first I thought this beer might be a mess, but it's quite an unexpected winner.

I don't know what style to compare this beer too, so I'll just say on its own this is one damn good beer.

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Photo of rudzud
4.87/5  rDev +32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up some bottles of this at Russel's in Amherst. Should be fun.

A - Wow, okay. Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice crystal clear super light amber hute with a good one and a half finger creamy head that fades to leave lots of sticky lacing and a nice very dense almost full finger blanket!

S - Okay...yeah. I had hoped for this and its there. I love barrel aged IPAs with sour mash it gives such a great aroma. Super fragrent floral almost slightly perfumey. No real malt sweetness, but some light citrusy hops. Great earthy barrel notes, almost a slight vanilla from the wood. The sour mash and barrels lend such a unique aroma, not really funky or tart or fruity, maybe slight green apple skin.

T - Wow, okay. This really isnt ike an IPA anymore. The first sip is overwhelmingly granny smith apple and skin. Really wasnt expecting that at all. Definately slightly tart and sour, not getting much malt or even hops for that matter just lots of green apple sourness. The finish though is smooth, smooth bourbon with some distinct barrel oak notes. Cant express enough how much green apple is with this.

M - Very nice mouthfeel for a barrel aged IPA. Lots of carbonation at first but after a while this becomes rather flat and thin.

O - Overall, this is an exceptional example of how to age an IPA. I've had a few aged IPAs like this before, the hops + barrels always results in such a great unique profile.

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Saint Of Circumstance Sour Mash Whiskey Barrel Aged IPA from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
3.67 out of 5 based on 53 ratings.
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