Saturday, 31 March 2012

A small quarrel with wood.

Something I realised recently after reading this post from Tandleman is that of recent years I seemed to have lost interest in oak aged beers. I was trying to think; what was the last big oaky beer I was impressed with? I'm sure I tried a few and the novelty factor was there but were there any exceptional ones at all?

Before I start I'd have to say that my exceptions to this are American sours or lambics. Most beers that involve purposeful infection via microrganisms in the barrel are pretty interesting. What I'm really getting at here are beers with a big influence of oak. Take for example (back in the day) my first taste of Harvestoun Old Dube. When it came out it was indeed highly rated, it got endless blogger attention, but somehow (despite thinking it was a decent winter warmer) I just didn't get the hype. In the same way I remember thinking Brew Dog's Paradox was crazy and intense yet somhow only tolerable in a single dose. More recently I've had a number of offerings from modern self-labelled 'craft' brewers. Big abvs, big beers, loaded with massive oaky tones yet left thinking that the Imperial Stout would have tasted much better without the resiny wood notes. Stuff like Brewdog Mikkeller Devine Rebel also had me choking (that's 330ml of pain right there).

Admitting this makes me feel slightly guilty as for my entire life as a beer geek I have always tried to embrace every style of beer (without favourites). Belgian sours, smoked beers, wheat wines and all forms of mega hopped-up IPAs are challenging and yet approachable for me. Yet when the tast of oak is anything more than subtly I'm never really inclined to hunt it out again.

But I do have an exception to this...

Friendly, approachable and on the sweet, malty side. Call me a pansy.

1 comment:

Ed said...

I'm with you on this one, I have liked some oak aged beers but I generally avoid them.