Saturday, February 16, 2013

Black Diamond Brandy Barrel Aged Grand Cru (8/10)

Black Diamond Brewing Company created this Brandy Barrel Aged Grand Cru in 2011.  The label reports that 75% of the contents consist of ale brewed with fruit with vanilla beans added, and 25% is ale aged in brandy barrels. 

It pours a slightly cloudy copper color with a persistent beige head.

The aroma has a very strong vanilla note to it, accompanied by fruit and grain.  On balance, it reminds me of a warm fruit muffin, like a cranberry or blueberry one.

The flavor, on the other hand, is nothing like a fruit muffin.  It starts with a creamy vanilla, backed with a balance of hops bitterness, fruit sweetness, and toasted grain.  It's a complex flavor with several distinct stages to it.  As you hold it in your mouth tasting it, the taste changes from one flavor to another.  I got some brandy, some cream, and a finishing note of hops.

Beer Advocate visitors call it just "average" and rate it 79/100.  I think they're being a little harsh.  I'm saying it's above average but giving it a very similar 8/10.  It's not a beer I'd want to drink all the time (like Gulden Draak or Ommegang Three Philosophers) but I'd certainly have it again.

ABV: 9.0%
IBU: unknown
My rating: 8/10

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