Sunday, September 23, 2012

Elevation Signal de Botrange review

Elevation Beer Signal de BotrangeA Double Black Diamond designation is meant for only for the most experienced of skiers to attempt. Could Elevation Beer Company believe that their Double Black Diamond Series of barrel aged beers should also be for the most experienced? Well, perhaps not for beginners, but definitely for those looking to embrace a challenge - to their taste buds that is. I was sent a bottle of their Elevation Signal de Botrange, a Belgian Ale aged in oak barrels and was curious just how bold this beer might be.

Elevation Beer has only been in business a handful of months, but already they've put out some beers that have already gotten people talking about them. Signal de Botrange is designated as a Saison / Farmhouse style of beer, a style meant to include a bit of funk and a lot of flavor. It's also their first beer in the Double Black Diamond Series

Signal de Botrange is measured at 7.5% ABV and around 26 IBUs. It comes in both 750ml bottles and on draft as select locations. The brew was made with a balance of Belgian Pale, Munich, Premium Pilsner, and Colorado White Wheat malts along with Northern Brewer, Saaz, and Strisselspalt hops. Strisselspalt? Ya, apparently that's an aroma hop from France that has a relatively low alpha acid content (3% to 5%). Elevation suggests that this beer might well be paired with slow roasted chicken, duck or pheasant, and aged hard cheeses. But for now, I'll try this beer just by itself.

Each bottle has an individual number on the label. This particular bottle was numbered 03327 and was bottled in the Summer of 2012. This brew was aged in Napa Valley Chardonnay oak barrels. The beer is named after the highest tower on the highest point in Belgium.

Appearance: Signal de Botrange opened with a loud pop and poured a cloudy dark copper color with a generous off-white head. Being a barrel aged beer, I expected to see some cloudiness. There was just a slight lacing on the glass, but the majority slid off quite quickly.

Signal de Botrange labelAroma: Almost immediately, this beer reminded me of a classic Belgian beer. I could smell some dark fruits, a bit of funk, some floral notes from the hops, a bit of the oak and chardonnay even managed to give off some highlights. Early on, I couldn't pick up any vanilla notes as the bottle suggested. A hint of alcohol hit my airways as well, but wasn't too much to call it boozy.

Taste: Within a moment I tasted a distinctive oak character along with the subtle funkiness in this Farmhouse ale. I tasted what seemed to be a touch of spice and fruit in this beer with a classic Belgian taste. The beer had a sharp character, very crisp and clean tasting. There wasn't any lingering after taste at all. The feel of this beer was medium bodied with plenty of carbonation, perhaps affecting the taste just a bit. The oak really made this beer taste that much better than it would otherwise. Just a nice noticeable character. The alcohol was definitely there

Overall: The more I drank this beer, the better I liked it. This is a beer I want to get more of. I'm not usually a Saison or Farmhouse fan, but this beer might just convert me. This is a beer that tasted good both cold and as it warmed up. I highly suggest trying this in a tulip or globe shaped glass in order to bring out all the full aromas and best possible flavor. So far, this is the 2nd beer I've tried from Elevation and I was impressed with both. I think Colorado is going to love their series of barrel aged beers.

Disclosure: This bottle was sent to me directly from Elevation Beer Company in Poncha Springs, CO. They asked for me to taste this beer and give it a review.

Related articles:
- Elevation Beer Company expands, adds news beers.
- Elevation Beer partners with Elite Brands for distribution.
- Elevation Beer Apis IV Quadrupel review.

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