Thursday, December 12, 2013

Oshkosh Beer Sampler: Brandy Barrel XV

A slanted and endless survey of what’s pouring in Oshkosh, tallied one beer at a time.

What: Brandy Barrel XV, an aged Barleywine sold in 22oz, waxed bottles.

Where: Fratellos Fox River Brewing Company in Oshkosh

Why: Because we all need a challenge every now and then and this beer is definitely that. But in the best possible way. It began life as a plus-size Barleywine at 9.7% ABV. After primary fermentation, it was transferred into a Korbel Brandy barrel for an extended period of aging and where it travelled north of 10% ABV. From there it was split into 400 bombers that have been hand-dipped in wax. What now pours from those bottles is a massively complex ale that’s a nice buffer against these bone-chilling nights. The beer flows dark and thick with the ripe scent of stone fruit. Layer after layer of aroma and flavor come up as the beer settles and warms in the glass. Brandied fruits, fig cookies, vanilla, oak, molasses... all of it underpinned with a warming boziness. Split this with a good friend and take a good long time to enjoy all the flavors that keep peeling up.

At Fratellos their selling this from the beer cooler for $15 a bottle (but make sure you let it get warm; their cooler temps are frigid). I liked the first bottle so much I bought a second that I’m going to cellar for as much time as I can stand to. We’ll see how long I can hold out.

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