On the docket: 750 mL bottle of Mash by The Bruery bottled: 8/7/15
Poured into: logoed River Horse stemmed snifter
S: A rich dark, syrupy brown-hued body fills out the glass, capped by a quickly rising and receding bone colored head. The bottom of the beer at the base of my glass gives off a honey-gold spot. Lacing is minimal, but the head lingers as a small, perforated ring and a wispy, soapy film on the surface. Carbonation is hard to detect, as the opacity prevents me from seeing any bubbles. I’ll meet up with them in the mouthfeel section, I’m sure.
A: Dear Mash aroma, I love you, let me count the ways… a seductive blend of vanilla, caramel, and treacle greet the senses. Not far behind is a subtle brown bread and raisin. Lastly, a kiss of booze, gentle and belying the 12.5% abv of this malt-driven beauty.
T: I’ll continue to gush about this beer. Much of the aroma carries through to the taste. It’s all there, working together to romance the tongue and the taste buds. Rich creamy vanilla and caramel open the door, the molasses and raisin/fruitcake shows you to your table, and the barrel aging takes your order. I’ll have what I’m having. The time spent in the bourbon barrel is evident, but not overpowering. Very often I’ve found that brewers get carried away with the barrel, and lose the beer. Famille Rue got it just right. It’s decadent, sweet, and woody. Like well-aged spirits, it takes a long time for the burn of the alcohol to develop, nearly seconds later after the initial sip and its journey down the back of your throat. As it warms up, yup, it’s boozier, but it won’t stop me.
F: Finely nuanced carbonation. It provides just enough lift to keep this high-gravity brew from forcing itself on you. Medium + weight, both oily and smooth at the same time. The finish is gentle, but does add some tannic dryness from the barrel, and a gentle bitterness from the hops to keep the sweetness in check.
O: A finely-tuned bourbon barrel-aged English Barleywine. Easy to drink despite its alcohol content. I’ll go out on a limb and say Mash has great potential for aging, perhaps bringing in dark chocolate and port notes as the hops fade away. I had my Mash at roughly 8 months, imagine what a two or three year relationship with your beer cellar might yield. Well worth the price paid.
S: 3.75 A: 4.5 T: 4.75 F: 4.25 O: 4.5
Suggested food pairing: Heavily-blued cheese, hearty beef stew, Crème brûlée, fruit cake (for the few that actually eat it and don’t simply re-gift it as a frozen brick, year after year in family Christmas exchanges), and most definitively as a cocktail beer (on its own).