PROOF Tasting Notes

Original Post: 2014 PROOF Brew Day
Style: Strong Ale
Brew Date: May 27, 2014
Tasting Date: October 28, 2014
ABV: 17.7+%
IBUs: 100+

IMG_4778First of all, my normal rule of drinking twelve ounces of beer while I write tasting notes may not hold today. If it does, these will probably be very long tasting notes that devolve greatly towards the end. Also, this is just the first set of tasting notes for this beer. I plan to do more as it ages. This set is done with bottle number five of forty seven. I have already drank bottles one and two and have skipped to five for the tasting notes as the first four were the bottom of the fermenter and were cloudy.

After peeling off enough of the wax coating to open the bottle cap (it requires a can opener but then comes fairly easily, a nice ritual without too much hassle), there is a slight pop. This is very lightly carbonated, which is fine. More carbonation could be nice, but I was afraid I wouldn’t get any.

IMG_4777This light carbonation continues to show itself as I pour the beer. A small amount of foam comes up but it quickly dissipates. The color is very dark, but it is definitely not opaque. It is deep brown. When held to the light, there are red highlights, but sitting on the table next to me, they do not show themselves.

Finally sniffing the beer, it is obviously sweet and strong. I get some slight coffee notes but the predominant aroma is burnt caramel. There is some alcohol, but it is not as strong as I’d expect (yet). There are roasted notes but they don’t resemble the roasted grains used in beer. If anything, they are more akin to a sweet glazed ham roasting in the oven.

The first sip is when the alcohol really hits. As soon as it passes my lips I can not only taste it, but feel it prickling my tongue and seeming to pull moisture out of my throat. I didn’t know how many cuts I had in my mouth until taking a sip of this.

Beyond the alcohol, there is a ton of sweetness. Burnt sugar. Coffee and caramel hard candy. This stuff is malty like a bock beer, but it is hidden behind the alcohol. It is thick, almost syrupy and the alcohol has some solvent like character. None of this sounds like bock, but the malt character is there.

The fermentation is surprisingly clean, too. I threw several different yeasts at this trying to get it to ferment as dry as possible. I attempted to keep it fairly cool but the crazy voracity of the fermentation heated it up quite a bit. I’m surprised that isn’t more obvious, but I guess with so much alcohol, the esters have plenty of space to hide.

I started with this being fairly cold. It is starting to warm, but I’m about to finish my first taster glass, about half the bottle. Once I do, I’ll let the rest sit for a bit and come back to it once it’s close to room temperature to see if anything changes.

The beer has been sitting for a good long time now, well over an hour, lets dive back in. The alcohol is coming out more in the aroma. Taking a sip, the maltiness comes out more. It doesn’t taste quite a sweet, but the alcohol is still crazy strong.

IMG_4781There isn’t a lot of change, honestly. This beer is so strong and abrasive to begin with that the temperature doesn’t have much of a chance to change things. There is a lot going on here, but I think age will do nothing but improve it. I still have a few ounces left, but I’m going to cut off the tasting notes for now. I will be back for more, if not before then at least when the beer reaches a year old.

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