It wasn’t long ago that barrel aged beers were only made by a few breweries that could afford the space for barrels and the patience to leave unsold product for months to properly age it. Now it seems like every brewery is starting a barrel program with a focus on aging beers in liquor/wine barrels or imparting flavors from Brettanomyces or wild microbes. The Mass Brew Brothers recently wrote an article about the history and exciting new developments involving barrel aging at Massachusetts breweries. One of the advantages of so many breweries venturing into barrel aging is more variety in the beers being produced. After the success of Goose Island’s quintessential Bourbon County Brand Stout it seems that most brewers started by aging an imperial stout in bourbon barrels. This is a logical and classic combination, and I love a good bourbon barrel stout, but there are a ton of potential style/barrel combinations that should also be explored. Jack’s Abby has been extremely creative with the various iterations of their Framinghammer Baltic Porter, with versions including bourbon, vanilla, coffee, mole, cocoa-nut and PB&J. One newer version that I was excited to try is Cordon Rouge, Framinghammer aged in brandy barrels with orange peel. Jack’s Abby Cordon Rouge is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 500 mL bottles.
Jack’s Abby Cordon Rouge Framinghammer pours deep brown with a minimal tan head. The scent is mostly roasted malt with a little brandy. The flavor is malt forward, chocolate, toffee and licorice with a subtle sweetness. The barrels add flavor and complexity without overwhelming the base beer, touches of red grape and candied sugar along with warming booze. The orange is very mild, I’m not sure I would have picked out the flavor if I didn’t know it was there. The flavor is rounded out by some earthy hops that add a little balance. Cordon Rouge is a complex sipper and it packs some serious punch at 10% ABV. The finish is dry with some lingering malt flavor and alcohol. I really enjoyed this iteration of Framinghammer and I applaud Jack’s Abby for continuing to experiment. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Jack’s Abby Reviews:
Jack’s Abby Sunny Ridge Pilsner, Jack’s Abby House Lager, Jack’s Abby Framinghammer, Jack’s Abby trIPL, Jack’s Abby/Otter Creek Joint Custody, BREWERY OVERVIEW, Jack’s Abby Maibock Hurts Like Helles, Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union, Jack’s Abby Barrel-Aged Framinghammer, Jack’s Abby Bride Maker, 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