I love imperial stouts aged in bourbon barrels, and apparently I am not the only one, it seems like every brewery that has space for barrel aging starts by putting a big stout into bourbon barrels. While many of these beers are amazing, the number one thing I love about craft beer is the variety, I love how many different combinations of flavors you can find across the spectrum of beer styles. I’ve long advocated for more experimentation in barrel aged beers, at least in non-sour categories, there is a lot of creativity with sour/wild styles. There are a ton of different spirits and wines that age in barrels, and many different beer styles that are appropriate for barrel aging, leading to a plethora of potential combinations, especially when you include adjuncts. Unfortunately many of these beers aren’t quick sellers, there is only a subset of beer drinkers who are willing to give these creative beers a try. Regardless, I am going to keep seeking these unique beers out and writing about the best examples I find! One great example of a creative barrel aged beer is Burlington Beer Mahogany and Tweed, a barleywine brewed with maple syrup and then aged in cognac barrels. Mahogany and Tweed is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz cans.
Burlington Mahogany and Tweed pours deep reddish-brown with a small tan head. The aroma features a mixture of boozy cognac and rich roasted malt. This is a complex, full-bodied and boozy (12% ABV) sipper. The malts add notes of toffee, brownies, raisins and just a hint of residual sweetness. The barrels contribute touches of red grape, vanilla and oak. There is minimal hops and a hint of maple to round out the flavor. Mahogany and Tweed has a full and rich finish with some residual malt and cognac flavor along with a little warming alcohol, but it still drinks very smooth for a big beer. This is excellent, really different but flavorful and well-crafted. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.
Previous Burlington Reviews: