Firestone Walker 2017 ‘Bravo’ BA Imperial Brown Ale


33540538_861542030696610_5845851364923539456_n“We proudly present the 2017 Vintage of Bravo, our Imperial Brown Ale aged in retired American oak bourbon barrels. Although Bravo was the first strong ale brewed for our Anniversary Ale blending program over ten years ago, it has yet to see its own bottled release, until now. Balancing rich toasty and chocolate malt flavors with a gentle balance of noble hops, Bravo is brewed to showcase barrel flavors with massive bourbon barrel notes that morph as the beer warms in the glass.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Light mahogany with burgundy hues. It doesn’t produce much head, eventually settling to a halo with thin rings clinging to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Biiiiig!! Lots of nutty uplift initially. Excellent follow up from those caramelly sweet and woody American bourbon oak barrels. It flows in to soft creamy vanilla, burnt brown sugar, cola syrup and an earthy spice like nutmeg or star anise. And who could possibly miss that stinging booze burn?! Phenomenal nose.

Flavour: It’s as big as Ben Hur but there’s so much nutty chocolate malt to offset it. Waves of sharp bourbon oak roll through with a touch of dark fruit (figs, dates, licorice etc) late in the mid. A bit of alcohol warmth early in the finish with lingering notes of bourbon, charred oak and serious dryness in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Chewy and somewhat creamy yet sharp and a touch leaner than we would have liked. 13.2% ABV and 28 IBU.

Overall: Outstanding offering. It’s huge, boozy and malty so this baby will age gracefully. Yes OK it’s probably obvious but let her come up to just below room temperature before cracking this bad boy. Let it open right up. Brilliant drop.