Thursday, May 30, 2013

Epic Brewing Brainless on Peaches review

Epic Brewing Brainless on PeachesEpic Brewing Company of Salt Lake City, Utah is building a second brewery in Denver in 2013 and after spying this beer on my local store shelf, I wanted to get to know this company before they open here in Colorado. I chose to review their Epic Brewing Brainless on Peaches - Belgian Style Ale for my first exposure to this brewery.

Brainless on Peaches is listed as a Belgian Strong Ale. It was aged for months in French oak barrels and was given some champagne yeast later on in the fermentation to give it a more dry and bubbly effect. The beer weighs in at a hefty 10.5% ABV and was bittered with noble hops to give it a bit of spice. According to the label, just 1800 22oz bottles of this Release #10 were made.

Appearance: Brainless on Peaches poured a golden yellow color with a small bright white head. The head dissolved fairly quickly and didn't leave any lacing to speak of. The beer started off slightly cloudy and seemed to have a lot of bubbles suspended in the beer. I could see tiny bits of sediment in the beer and inside the 22oz bottle there was a noticeable amount of yeast sediment at the bottom, so pour carefully on the 2nd serving. As this beer settled in the glass it got much clearer, but also brought out the fact that there was more sediment floating in this beer than I originally saw.

Aroma: This beer has quite the fruity ester in the nose. It definitely had peach in it, but it was more sour than sweet. There was also some spice from the hops and a slight bit of vegetable funk as well. This was a barrel aged beer and the French oak didn't add a lot to this aroma. I admit, the aroma wasn't pleasant at first, but as the beer warmed a bit I got accustomed to it. Perhaps the yeast combo along with the peaches and hops were something I hadn't encountered before.

Taste: The taste of this Belgian-style ale was sweeter than it smelled, but it didn't have much fruit, rather more from the malts. There was a slight tartness in this beer, but I wouldn't call this sour by any means. The Belgian-yeast added the usual funkiness of this style and added a bit of flavor itself. The beer had a decent balance between sweet and bitterness. There was quite a bit of carbonation in this beer from the champagne yeast and I think that affected the flavor a bit. The flavor burst up front punched me in the face, but then it mellowed out rather quickly as it went down. I'm not sure if the French oak barrels added much to the flavor, I could pick up some subtle oak tones but not a lot.

Brainless on Peaches close-upAs the session continued, I grew to enjoy this beer more. I think the "shock" of the initial blend of the yeasts, oak, and peaches was a bit confusing at first and it took some time to understand where this beer's flavor was really heading. The alcohol level in this beer was well hidden by the sweetness and I didn't really start feeling it until later in the sampling.

Overall: For a Belgian Strong Ale, a style I generally really enjoy, this one left me with more questions than I had answers. I ended up enjoying the taste more and more as I went on, but it definitely took a bit of time to get used to. The combination of peach, Belgian funk and French oak was a combo I hadn't encountered before, so I decided not to judge too soon before giving this a final nod. By the end of the bottle, I had finally figured out what this beer was all about. Normally, it doesn't take that long to figure out a beer, but this one made me study it a while.

The alcohol content in this beer really snuck up on me late. It wasn't until the 2nd half of this bottle to really start noticing it and then I could really feel it. If you decide to try this beer please note that your initial thoughts on this beer will probably change by the time you finish it. It took me a while to get used to it, but by the time I did it became a much better beer.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer at my local liquor store.

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