Oak Aged Specialty Beer XXX | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Oak Aged Specialty Beer XXXOak Aged Specialty Beer XXX
20 Ratings
Oak Aged Specialty Beer XXXOak Aged Specialty Beer XXX

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Specialty Imports 30th Anniversary Specialty Beer aged in oak barrels for several months. This "Specialty Beer" brings together smooth, dark malts with intense aromatic hops to create a wonderfully balanced yet committed-to-flavor ale. Then this ale was aged in oak barrels for several months."

87 IBU

Added by AKBelgianBeast on 10-27-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 20 |  Reviews: 16
Reviews by CoolJosh:
Photo of CoolJosh
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours like a stout. Very nice dark black body with a small khaki colored head.

The smell is very nice for a black ipa. Tons of roasted malt scents ooze out of the glass. A nice sweet chocolate comes out behind the mask of citrus and pine hops. The flavor conforms with the scent. The mouthfeel is a little bit watery, but all in all another solid offering from the brewery that doesn't disappoint.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to AmericanBrew for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a light brown head. The aroma is resiny hops along with roasted malt and oak. The flavor is caramel malt with some resiny and piney hops. You also get some chocolate and oaked notes. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of jaminjohnson
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An Oak Aged version of the Specialty Beer XXX Black DIPA. The original(brewed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Specialty Imports) was fantastic, so i expect the same here.

Pours an almost impenetrable black with some slight ruby highlights. A large light tan head forms and retains pretty well leaving great lacing.

Nose is full of american hops and a slight, almost burning weed aroma. Some slight roastiness in the nose but this is minimal.

Taste follows. A large prominent bitterness right of the bat. Very slight roast flavor ala described in the nose. The bitterness continues to rise toward the finish. Good west coast hop profile. Some almost creamy flavor for a quick second, I'm thinking this is the barrels coming into play, but then the bitterness takes over again and presses towards a nice dry finish. The aftertaste lingers with good bitterness and a nice dark malt subtelty.

Mouthfeel is pretty fine. Slightly more viscous than your average DIPA, but it fits in well with this beer. Carbonation is perfect, and the dry bitter finish is great.

Drinkability is quite solid for the 8.5% abv. Really never makes its presence known. The complexity makes you want to drink this one slowly though, and appreciate it as it warms up a bit.

Overall, an incredibly complex beer, and one that it takes some time to appreciate fully. Take it slow on this one and analyze each sip taken. I really like that balance between the styles. The subtelty, yet clear noticeability of the oak aging is admirable as well. Really a complex and intricate beer. Gives your palate a good work out. Excellent.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

piney hops and rich roasted malts. Touches of peat and campfire like tones coming through. Nice feel, medium carbonation and heavy enough to keep me intrested, but not overally full. Nice opening bite of piney hops come across quite nicely with a delicate dryness and touches of light hops. Quickly the roasted malts take over and offer lots of smokey and rich malty notes. Light chocolate starts to come through in the dry finish and leaves the palate, leaving sligh oak finish.

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Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from notes.
Thanks to TomDecapolis for this...
Appears a dark brown, nearing black with a chestnut hue and a small light tan head that slowly fades. Tons of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, caramel, spices, and herbal tea.
Taste is of the aromas with a citrusy punch flowing along the tastebuds.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, spicy, spritzy, and bitter.

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Photo of 3toedtoad
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is quite the interesting brew. A dark India Pale Ale (oxymoron anyone?)

This is how the beer expressed itself to me. At first there was the sweetness of the residual sugars from the malt. Then BAM! there was the punch to the gut from the citrusy hops. The two balance each other out pretty well actually. After that the beer finishes rather dry with a piney, woody flavor. Overall this is an interesting brew worth respect!

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of blackcloud
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of sprucetip
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Oak aged version of black IIPA created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Specialty Imports. On tap at the brewery! Black, modest head, good lacing. SMELL a bit too faint to score hgher, but nice. Hops and oak mainly, some booze, slightly fruity. TASTE complex blend of resiny hop flavors, oak, boooze, sweet malty base, bit of roasted grains and sneaky lingering bitterness. Unique and provocative, and it works. FEEL warming, medium viscosity, med full body, bitter finish. OVERALL pretty easy drinker, for a big IPA. But should be savored for its complexity.

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4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Black as pitch with a luxurious tan head. This easily could double as a well built stout.

Nose is floral, fruity hops, burnt toast, molasses, espresso and plums. I am extremely turned on.

Vinous and resiny in the mouth, with baltic porter-esque roastiness. A sharp acrid smack of hops is immediately met with burnt pumpernickel, burnt coffee, baseball gloves and cigar smoke.

Soft and pillowy in the mouth, exits with an abrupt half-hearted slam of the door.

This is quite an intriguing beer, to be sure. If it were labeled as a stout my review would change very little, as it leans much more stout like than any IPA that's blessed my lips.

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Photo of gford217
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of savnac poured into a tulip.

Pours very dark, almost completely black in the glass with a small creamy off-white head that leaves a little lacing and hangs around as a collar and a small swirl in the middle.

The aroma is very interesting with the juicy citrus hops still dominating the aroma with the dark roasted malts in the background. However, the oak is definitely present with a pronounced fresh, dry woody presence.

The taste has a bit more bitterness that the aroma would suggest with a mix of citrus and floral hops and roasted dark malts. The finish is what differentiates this from the earlier version with a dry, oaky finish.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a much drier feel than the non-oaked version. It's almost spicy in the finish due to the use of the virgin oak barrels.

I think this is a slight step up from the original with the oak bringing another layer of complexity to the table. Another winner from MSBC.

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Photo of ccrida
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

update - just found out this batch was brewed in the summer, and only aged in barrels for a few months, which it explains why the hops were insanely strong for what I thought was a 13 month old beer. Still, at 6 months, it's very impressive.

Bomber courtesy of Jeremiah, poured into my MSBC cervoise, oak aged XXX is cola brown with a creamy tan head leaving light, scattered lace.

Smell is big spicy, citrus hops. As it warms, some bourbon comes out a bit more, but it's still mostly pungent hops, which I love. Bakers chocolate peeks out finally as well, but with every sniff, I just can't get over how dank this is!

Taste is similarly hoppy, with a big chocolate note, a touch vinous though, which I don't recall from the regular version, as well as a hint of vanilla. I'm most impressed with how assertive the hops still are, considering the original (non-oaked aged) was released in January of 2009. There's a bit of a boozy kind of finish that reminds me of boubon barrels, but I'm otherwise not getting much from the oak. After it warms some, the bourbon character is more evident, but it's all about the blistering hops. Oddly, the hops seem more prevalent then in the non-oaked version, where the black ale base was a bigger contributor.

Mouthfeel is a bit slick, but tannic, medium bodied.

Drinkability is good, this is a very tasty beer, huge flavor yet smooth, a hop head's delight, with just enough barrel and black to live up to the billing. Really, really impressed with how robustly the hops have held up.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from the cellar.

Pours amost opaque black with mahogany edging. An inch-plus head of light tan drops to a solid skim coat and persists throughout the glass. Ripped sheets of lacing for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with charred malts with an underlying tropical hoppiness. Nougat, espresso, roast, and bitter chocolate with shades of tangerines and mangoe way underneath.

On the full side of medium bodied with a slick, oily mouthfeel. Chewy.

Roasted malts, bakers chocolate, charred oak, and dark roasted coffee beans lead off the palate. Grapefruit, pine, and tropical fruit trys to step forward but is overcome by the Porter-like character.
Bitterness ramps up a bit and hints of fruit pith, vanilla, and hop resins follow through.

Finishes with lingering roast, bitter citrus, and a mild warmth. Drying and acrid from the barrel and dark malts.

The hops get a bit lost under all the roast, but the barrel aging adds some nice oaky dryness that fits well. I remember the original, non-BA version being a bit more hoppy.

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Photo of mothman
2.91/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to t0rin0 for sharing this one.

Poured into Stone Old Guardian glass.

Pours a beige head. Color is a dark caramel with a ruby hue to it.

Aroma: Malty with some floral hops. Oak, caramel and bready malts. Ends with a bit of citrus.

Taste: Sour, bready malts. Kind of odd. Caramel sweetness. Floral hops and some oak. Not too good.

Mouthfeel: Bitter sweet. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends dry and sticky.

Overall, not a solid offering from MS. Not to many oak aged IPAs end up good and this wasn't an exception. Seems to be a bit old. Not something I wanted a lot of.

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Photo of tpd975
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice shade of brown with a tall tan head. Very nice retention and lace.

S: Wow wonderful aroma. Lots and lots of C hops, this is loaded with citrus. Hints of roast, caramel and chocolate.

T: The hops have lingered very nice. Mostly grapefruit with hints of zesty lemon. Lots of caramel and brown sugar hiding beneath. Some roast very light oak, but the barrel as a whole is understated.

M: Medium in body, smooth, nice sweetness to balance the bitter blast.

D: Pretty good. I like this one.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Brown Jug in Anchorage. Served in a Stone IRS tulip.

A - Pours with a finger of tan foam that settles to a thin cap and thicker collar, leaving behind spotty lace. Body is a very dark brown color, with a ruby glint at the fringes.

S - Hops have faded, but still impart a good deal of herbal and piney character. These flavors mingle with oak, smoke, black malt, and cocoa.

T - Taste is very heavy on the oak, although as the brew warms more caramel and chocolate character emerges, along with some vanilla from the barrel. For a brew that used to be pretty hoppy there was surprisingly low bitterness in the finish. Alcohol is well-hidden.

M - Smooth, medium body, pleasant medium-low carbonation, and a woody dry finish that has some light resinous hop oils that linger. No alcohol warmth.

D - I had a few pours from the 22oz bottle and we finished this one fairly quickly. That being said, it's very oak-heavy and not something I'd want to have on a regular basis. Still, for a 16 month old Black DIPA it's held up pretty well. I'd certainly revisit this if there was a fresh batch made, but I wouldn't grab a 2009 vintage bottle again.

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Photo of vande
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A gift, from a great guy!

A: if I didn't know any better, I'd say it looked like a nice, cold pepsi... cola dark with a bit of foam along the top there...not much, just along the glass

S: roasted malts right a way followed quickly by a subtle hops presence...

T: coco, roasty, and a dencent amount of chocolate character which is always interesting for an IPA, even if black... there's an oaky lining too..

M: medium bodied creamy brew

0: pretty tasty, even with a bit of age on it...

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Photo of DucksFan16
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of dragonWhale
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

enjoyed this a few times over the summer up in the AK, brought a bottle for the fabled wood aged weekend..

dark carmelita, little bit of bloody highlights, nice creamy head.
excellent floral aroma, little bit of pine, little roast, tiny bit of the oak.
the oak seems to smooth out the roast in this beer, blending splendidly with the floral and piny hops, maybe a little chocolate in here as well. really excellent. seems to make this more creamy almost than the non-oaked.
that rug really ties the room together. thank you midnight sun.

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Oak Aged Specialty Beer XXX from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 20 ratings