7 Cent 6 -Fifths

7cent6fifths

You gotta respect what 7 Cent do. Three mates who love to home brew and brew what they want, regardless of the consequence. Let me provide you an example of their reckless abandon approach: their first release was a 9% Belgian Strong Ale which they served through a hand pump… Now that’s an approach to brewing I can get behind! The story I love even more is how they came by their name. With no idea for names they decided to give up and blow off some steam. By burning a couch. What was left the next day was some spare change, and some old spare change at that: one and two cent pieces. And you guessed it, it equalled up to 7 cents. So now comes their barrel aged Barley Wine, and in typical 7 Cent style it is a beast and even the barrel has its own story: starting life as a bourbon barrel, it then moved to whiskey and then off to Norway where it was filled with Nogne O’s part of the Aurora Borealis then off to Beechworth for Bridge Roads end. From there the 7 Cent boys picked it up and racked in their barley wine, leaving it for a total of 18 months. It’s a brilliant story, but is it a brilliant beer? Let’s find out.

Style: Dessert Barley Wine

ABV: 14.6%

IBU: N/A

From: Low Buy Liquor, Lilydale

Pour:

Pours jet black with fine light brown/ tan head.

On The Nose:

Nose exhibits a brilliantly warming alcohol note with boozy raisins, sticky milk chocolate, burnt toffee and butterscotch, vanilla bean, roasted coffee and rich espresso with brilliant, warming whiskey and bourbon notes with oaky char aromatics. Sherry sweet and brilliant balance.

Palate:

Expect to find rich, sticky Oloroso sherry sweetness here with notes of liquorice, raisin, honeyed prunes and luscious sweet malts and biscuit with roast hazelnuts and almonds. Now for the finish, and this is where the barrel ageing really shines through: you’ll find drying dark cocoa tannin and smokey notes, warming whiskey, bourbon and lots of oak chip dryness with a slight vegemite saltiness. Sherry sweet, oak and honey with brilliant, warming balance.

Final Thoughts:

This is quite possibly the best dessert style brew I’ve ever had. Sure, sweetness is going to be expected here but with the barrel ageing there is some serious complexity driving the finish, rounding out aromatics and adding fantastic dryness. Those whiskey bourbon notes are an absolute knock out. Overall, the sweetness is brilliantly balanced with well integrated tannin dryness from the barrel ageing and a warmth spreading to you fingers and toes. Harmonious, warming and complex, it has literally got it all. Luckily for me I got myself another bottle, cannot wait to see how this looks with a bit a cellaring. With an impressive core range and some brilliant experimental stuff going on (they now have started a barrel ageing program), keeping an eye on these guys would be in your best interest.

Moon Dog Black Lung IV

moondogblacklungIV

The Black Lung  has had a few incarnations, all with a Zoolander quote on the side… Making it pretty much irresistible. Each incarnation has stepped up from the next, starting with a small amount of barrel ageing with whiskey and rum barrels to the current American oak- aged smokey stout. The one persisting feature is the smokiness: sweet, sweet cigar smokiness… Let’s see how the fourth steps up from its predecessors!

Style: American Oak- Aged Smokey Stout

ABV: 9.1%

IBU: 45

$$: $10- $12

Pour:

Pours a jet black sheen with slight brown tinges on the edge. Fine tanned coffee mocha head.

On The Nose:

Massive peat and smoke initially with lots of tobacco, cedar, white pepper and star anise. Slight sweetness in the background: vanilla bean, coffee, cocoa and roasted nuts.

Palate:

The palate is rich, smooth and smokey like a fine cigar. The oak ageing adds a great depth of flavour and complexity that can only come from American oak: vanilla, coconut and a certain ruggedness and and creamy, rich texture. The smoke and peat is prevalent through out with black pepper, tobacco leaf, cedar and walnut with plenty of sweet spice. Surprisingly, getting plenty of sweetness too: dark bakers cocoa, rich espresso, salted caramel, roasted oats and almonds with soft liquorice.

Final Thoughts:

A cracking new incarnation of the Black Lung. Smokey tobacco blended with rich American oak, this brew brings together some of my favourite attributes: whiskey and cigars. Not getting much alcohol either, just smooth, rich good times…

8 Wired 2012 Chardonnay Barrel Aged Saison (NZ)

8wiredchardsaison

I’m a bit of a nut for barrel ageing at the moment. With most of my working experience being in wineries, I’ve had my fair share of vino and love the effect barrels have on finished products. Adding complexity, oak, toastiness and a great depth of flavour that accentuates the style: whether it be pinot, shiraz or, in this case, chardonnay. Where the oak comes from also plays a massive role, predominantly either being American or French, each give their own unique flavour. French tends to lend itself to more subtlety: spice and silky textures, while American tends toward bolder, oakier toast notes like coconut with creamy mouthfeel. Lets see how this barrel ageing from 8 Wired has turned out!

Style: Saison

ABV: 7.0%

IBU: N/A

Pour:

Pours a golden orange with what started as fluffy white head but quickly dissipated.

On The Nose:

Lots of stewed apricot, peach, green apple, hints of pineapple and lots of toast, cedar, vanilla and tonnes of oak all thanks to the barrel ageing. Also getting some fresh grapefruit, sweet spices and leathery notes, flint, gun smoke  and lees.

Palate:

Packed with apricot and stewed peach with loads of candied grapefruit pith, lime juice and Granny Smith apple, like you’ve just taken a big bite out of one. Absolutely loving the dryness  in this: puckering citrus rind, leather, cereal and cedar. Getting lots of earthiness too with stoney flinty notes. The barrel ageing is on full display here with lots of oak, toast, cedar and buttery mouthfeel. Getting sweet spices like clove, cinnamon and nutmeg too.

Final Thoughts:

8 Wired have crammed some serious complexity into this brew with the barrel ageing shining incredibly. Drinking this, the similarities of chardonnay and saison is blindingly apparent. Reminiscent of big, oaky chardonnays I’m guessing 8 Wired have used American oak here. Getting juicy citrus, granny smith apple, cereal and leather with flinty steel notes, like licking a whetstone. Classic chardonnay notes. This was a fascinating experiment and one that was fascinating to drink. Really well made and balanced, this is a perfect melding of wine making and beer brewing. Brilliant.