Straight from the oak (left) and unoaked (right) samples of Elizabeth II Old Ale.
I'm happy to announce that unlike last time, no saltiness was detected at all from my barrel aged old ale. After about a month in the barrel its aromas are quite sweet, almost port like with oaky tones. Another positive was the lack of harsh alcohols that were a bit of a problem from the previous batch. The words madera like and sweet come to mind, with rich molasses. The challenger hops are still in there, but seem more abundant in the un-oaked sample, that tastes a bit more like a heavier straight-forward-strong-ale without the resinous woody notes building in the finish.
Overall I'm quite chuffed with it. Its quite balanced and drinkable, and the oak aging seems to have mellowed everything in the beer and added an extra layer of complexity. My next challenge is to get my finger out and get brewing that replacement beer so I can get the stuff bottled before it tastes like nothing but wood.