25th Anniversary Grand Cru
Brewery: Saint Arnold Brewing Co
Style: Specialty Wood Aged (33B)
Package: 12oz Bottle
Canned Date: May 13, 2019
Consumed Date: February 20, 2020
Details From the Brewer
We brewed three classic Saint Arnold recipes that originally appeared in our Divine Reserve series or Bishop’s Barrel series, then laid them down to rest in bourbon barrels. After tasting every single barrel, a total of 190, we sat down to create the final blend:
50% Belgian-Style Quadrupel
25% Russian Imperial Stout
25% English-Style Barleywine
Our 25th Anniversary Grand Cru is a full bodied, complex, yet balanced barrel aged beer. The Quad presents character of plums and dried cherries, followed by bitter dark chocolate, lavender, and subtle roast bitterness from the Stout. The Barleywine provides a backbone of toffee/caramel sweetness balanced by a soft hop bitter finish. The bourbon is delicately laced throughout, uniting all the components of the blend.
Aroma – 11/12
Raisin, plum, mixed with other dark fruits at a medium intensity. This blends with an equal bourbon smell. More subtle notes of cocoa and vanilla mix in as well. There’s a lower level of oak present, with a healthy alcohol character. A touch of boozy sweetness lingers in the nose.
Appearance – 3/3
Compact, small tan bubbles make up a creamy head that fills the glass. It lingers with great retention. The liquid is the darkest of browns, but not opaque. Light will penetrate about an inch into the beer.
Flavor – 16/20
Plums, dates, and caramel hit the tongue first at a medium-high intensity. Lower notes of cocoa and vanilla come out, and mix with the moderate bourbon flavor. A slight bitterness comes out in the mid palate, the flavors really blend together towards the finish, with a bit of candied orange peaking out. The finish is drier than the aroma lets on. A bit of oak flavor and sweet candied dark fruit lingers.
Mouthfeel – 5/5
So creamy. Medium full bodied, but not into the big chewy territory. The creaminess comes in creating a very smooth finish. A touch of wood-based astringency. A moderate alcohol warmth hits the back of the mouth and throat. Medium carbonation prickles the cheeks and roof of the mouth.
Overall Impression – 9/10
There’s a lot going on in this beer. A lot of good things. The mouthfeel on this is one of the best I’ve had recently. I was really impressed by the aroma as well. Although I picked up a lot of the same notes in the flavor, it was a bit more muted, especially in the back end of the taste. This may have been oxidation kicking in, but if the flavor was a touch more pronounced this beer would be near perfect.
Rating – 44/50
Blended style barrel aged beers are some of the most complex beers you can try. Firestone Walker’s Anniversary beers come to mind as a great comparison to this. Saint Arnold did an amazing job in crafting a tribute to 25 years of brewing beer in Texas. Let’s hope for 25 more!