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
53 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 53 |  Reviews: 20
Photo of sailorastro
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

 1,324 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

 1,972 characters

Photo of silentjay
1.54/5  rDev -56.7%
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.

 1,175 characters

Photo of rudzud
4.87/5  rDev +36.8%
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.

 1,415 characters

Photo of DoctorB2B
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of Massbmx
2.5/5  rDev -29.8%

Photo of Goldfishman
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of JOEYKane
1/5  rDev -71.9%

Photo of woosterbill
2.46/5  rDev -30.9%
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.


 802 characters

Photo of jhb138
1.25/5  rDev -64.9%

Photo of jboyer
4.75/5  rDev +33.4%

Photo of 40451
5/5  rDev +40.4%

Photo of mctizzz
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of JustHarmless
4.42/5  rDev +24.2%
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!

 961 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of bluesplit63
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of alamode
4.75/5  rDev +33.4%

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

 623 characters

Photo of SABERG
4.09/5  rDev +14.9%
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.


 513 characters

Photo of wesley14
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Photo of sentomaster
4.52/5  rDev +27%
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.

 1,321 characters

Photo of innuendobrewskiman63
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of slangtruth
4.47/5  rDev +25.6%
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.

 1,215 characters

Photo of polishkaz
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

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Saint Of Circumstance Sour Mash Whiskey Barrel Aged IPA from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Beer rating: 3.56 out of 5 with 53 ratings