I used to drink a considerable amount of whiskey, it is the only spirit that I’ve ever had much of an appreciation for. Now it’s pretty rare that I enjoy a glass, I drink a lot less than I used to and most of my alcohol consumption is in beer form. With this in mind it’s no surprise that my favorite barrel aged beers are mostly coming out of whiskey barrels. While there are many delicious beers aged in this way, the vast majority are imperial stouts and it would be nice to see a little more variety. I’ve started to see a few barrel aged saisons make their way onto shelves, although they are mostly aged in wine barrels. This makes sense, as the bold flavors imparted from aging in liquor barrels could overwhelm some of the more delicate flavors from saison yeast strains. One exception that I found recently is Trucco, a saison aged with Brettanomyces in whiskey barrels brewed by Smuttlabs, the experimental arm of Smuttynose Brewing Company. Smuttlabs Trucco is available on a rotating basis in 500 mL bottles.
Smuttlabs Trucco pours a clear amber orange with a minimal white head. The scent features a little whiskey mingling with estery Belgian style yeast. The flavor here is complex, no one component stands out over the others. The fermentation adds substantial character, barnyard funk, pear and apple along with a touch of tartness. The whiskey and oak from the barrel aging are noticeable but subtle, which is key with a lighter beer style like a saison. The malts add body along with notes of biscuits, honey and bread crust while the hops are minimal. Trucco is medium bodied and drinks very smooth for a beer with 10% ABV. The finish is dry with lingering yeast flavors and a little puckering bite on the tongue. Smuttlabs Trucco is a very good beer, lots of different flavors but they all work together. I like seeing some barrel aged saisons, and this is a great version of the style. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
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