47 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from I don't know where any more. I do remember at some point that I had two bottles of this, and I would have thought I'd reviewed it back then, but apparently, I had not. This is a strong American brown ale, matured in rye whiskey barrels. Bottled in December 2015, so this is more than 3 years old now.
Pours a murky, rather opaque brown colour, a little bit like chilled, melted chocolate, mixed with something a little clearer and miscible. Head fizzes up with some weak, loose bubbles to begin with, but settles out to nothing, leaving the bill looking dead and still. Body has some weight, but less than you might expect from a beer of its size.
Nose is relatively pleasant, based as it is first and foremost around the oak. This gives it a smoothness, and just enough of a contrast to the deep, boozy sweetness to provide some balance. It also adds notes of tobacco and vanilla. Otherwise, it's mostly dark and sweet.
Taste is disappointing, to be honest. Here, there's very little sweetness cushioning the hit of the oak, which ends up feeling ashy and tannic in the mouth—a little bit like chewing on sawdust. Instead of accentuating the characters, it's really very hot and dry, with a bitterness on the back that shares more in common with cough mixture than a really good strong ale. It's a little better as it warms up, with a little more smoothness, although little additional sweetness.
It's a shame, really. It's drinkable enough, but the flavours are really quite aggressive, and lack balance on the palate. It really ends up being a bit of a slog, and not worthy of the ABV.