Friday, September 25, 2015

Abita Bourbon Street Barrel Aged Biere De Mars (6/10)

Lately, I've been going through my old beer review notes and trying to get everything available here on the site for my readers.  One thing that's really disappointed me (in myself, mostly) is that I've had a tough time getting the reviews for certain beers online before those beers disappear from sale.  Sadly, this review is one of those.  I post the reviews anyway, as a thank you to the brewers for producing these interesting beers, and as a way for other craft beer lovers to get some idea what the beer was like - should it ever reappear at your favorite store or bar.

Abita Brewing Co. is located about 30 miles away from New Orleans, Louisiana.  Bourbon Street Barrel Aged Biere De Mars is a Biere De Garde style ale, typically brewed in March (hence the Mars name).  It's aged in bourbon barrels, but I can't find much information about the barrels used.

The Biere De Garde style in the BJCP guidelines has an aroma with a prominent malty sweetness with a complex toasty character.  Esters are moderate to low, and there is little or no hop aroma.  There's also a musty element common in commercially brewed versions.  The guidelines state that the flavor has a medium to high malt flavor with a toasty toffee or caramel sweetness.  Alcohol flavors are low to moderate.  Hop bitterness is medium to low, as this is a beer that should be balanced toward malt.

Abita's version pours a hazy light brown with minimal head.

The aroma is buttery, oaky, and only slightly malty.  

The flavor starts malty, then turns oaky and a little buttery.  There is a lingering bitterness, probably from hops, and a cola-like malt character.  As much as I like the Biere De Garde and Biere De Mars styles in general, I don't care much for this example of it.  It's rated at 9% alcohol, and 21 IBUs of bitterness.  It seemed a bit more bitter than that.

All things considered, this is a beer I should love.  I like barrel aged beers.  I like Biere De Mars style in general.  Abita makes some nice beers.  It's got all the right elements, but somehow it just doesn't work for me.  I'm giving it a 6 out of 10.  Beer Advocate reviewers gave it an 89 or good rating.  Rate Beer reviewers come closer to my own rating, giving it a 3.22 out of 5 on average, or 6.4 out of 10.

This is supposedly a one-time limited edition beer.  If you want to see whether it's available near you today, check this link to locations selling it on

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