One of my points last year was I thought the 2008 vintage was too hot and young on its release; the first thing I noticed with 2009 is that, while there is the heat of a young high-alcohol beer, it’s not nearly as strong right out of the bottle as the 2008. There’s lots of charred wood and bitter dark chocolate and some vanilla in the bourbon notes—yes, the bourbon is there in the heat, and it’s sticky and thick and wafts up into the nose as you drink. But there’s not a hint of the astringency even though it’s super roasty.This is actually from last week, when it first caught my attention, but Kevin, our Eugene correspondent, reviewed at locally brewed Oakshire Ill-Tempered Gnome:
The Gnome started off with the citrus taste from the hops. That gave way to the malts; where a sweet toasted caramel flavor developed. As the sweetness faded, the ale finished slightly bitter with a tiny amount of alcohol warmth. The head that remained after the initial burn off left a chunky lacing on the glass.And Geoff is catching up on an earlier release, Lagunitas Imperial Red:
This red ale offers the best of both worlds. A medium bodied malt base has some toasty sweet caramel tastes and a little brown sugar. Balanced by a big hop bitterness. Pine and citrus hop flavors mix perfectly with the malt. Balanced and very drinkable. The 7.5% ABV allows this to be intense, but not over the top.Please follow the links and read the whole reviews. I've just snagged a piece of each.