Saturday, January 12, 2013
15th Anniversary Malt: Vanilla and Cocoa - Garrision Brewing (Canada - Nova Scotia - Halifax) 9.0%
Opaque, dark chocolate black/brown in a glass with a thick beige head. Bitter dark chocolate aroma with a mix of faint dark fruit and some doughy rye bread tones with some subtle hops aromids too. Some light sediment at the bottom of the bottle that adds some grain and fairly prominent oatmeal flavours. The sediment really adds an interesting dimension to the beer so I'd strongly suggest pouring the whole bottle into one glass (or into a pitcher and then into glasses if you are really intent on sharing).
Strong tasting: roasty, a little smoky, slightly tart dark fruit and dried red fruit tones, alcohol with the bitter flavour of the darkest of chocolates. This mixing of light sweet malts with touches of caramel (crystal and caramel malt) with a smorgasbord of dark (and very dark) malts and then coupled with the high alcohol tastes like an alcoholic fruitcake made with brandy (maybe a splash of whiskey - if anyone actually makes fruitcake with whiskey) and absolutely loaded with dried fruits.
Not entirely unexpectedly, this beer gets better as it warms: the fruit esters and touches of high alcohol are still decidedly there but mix more deliciously with the deep malt flavours and the vanilla really starts to come out. It is still very bitter, and there are still chocolate flavours, but rather than striking me as a mostly dark chocolate flavoured beer I'd almost say molasses and maple with some smoke sum up the flavours better (with the aforementioned fruit esters and tastes of alcohol). The hops flavours also come out more as it warms but this brew is still a celebration of malt rather than hops. Obviously there's a lot of depth to this malty beauty: try it cool, try it warmer and enjoy it all round.