Most craft brewers are constantly experimenting with new beers. Some never make it past a test batch, others become one-off releases, and a few favorites become part of the regular brewery rotation. While brewers love to experiment, they can also be perfectionists. Occasionally a beer is brewed and released that is good, but not exactly what the brewer had in mind, which leads to a conundrum. Do they keep the recipe the same and decide it’s good enough, or change it up? If you change it do you keep the same name and hope your customers don’t notice, or give it a new name? Jack’s Abby ran into this issue with their first lager wine, Baby Maker, similar to a barleywine but brewed with lager yeast. While the beer was well received it wasn’t exactly what the brewers had in mind, so they re-worked the malt bill and Bride Maker was born. While I’m disappointed that the name changed (I thought Baby Maker was a brilliant name), I understand the reasoning. Still, wouldn’t it have been fun to name it Baby Maker 2.0, or Baby Maker Take 2? A little late now. Jack’s Abby Bride Maker is a big and boozy lager aged in bourbon barrels, and is available on draft and in 500 mL bottles.
Jack’s Abby Bride Maker pours a deep amber red with a minimal off-white head. The scent starts with some deep and dark malts followed by some bourbon and booze. The malts lead off the flavor as well, notes of milk chocolate, honey, grainy bread, plum and raisin. The flavor from the barrel aging really comes through, vanilla, oak and a little whiskey. There is no noticeable hop flavor as the malts dominate along with the additional taste added by the aging process. The booze is noticeable, but not as strong as you might expect from a beer with 13% ABV! You need to be careful with this beer, it’s a full bodied sipper but still goes down pretty easy. The finish has some malt sweetness and a pleasant warming burn on the tongue. I can safely say this is the first lager wine I’ve ever tried (it might be the only lager wine that exists) and I enjoyed it, but it put me on my ass a little. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Jack’s Abby Reviews:
Jack’s Abby Brewery/Hopstitution BAM, Jack’s Abby Copper Legend, Jack’s Abby Session Rye IPL, Jack’s Abby Mass Rising, Jack’s Abby/Evil Twin Jack’s Evil Brew, Jack’s Abby Wet Hop Lager, Jack’s Abby Pro-Am Pilsner