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Top 100 Rated Beers of 2017

Delve into the best beers of the year as judged in BC's Official Review.

 

#4

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97
by John C. Tull
Brewery Lane Series: Barrel Aged Imperial Cherry Stout
Breckenridge Brewery

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Brewery Impressions
by Breckenridge head brewer Carl Heinz and cellarmaster Eddie Varela

Who was responsible for this beer’s recipe?
This was a collaboration among our brewers and cellarmen.

What sets this beer apart from other examples within the style?
We brewed this imperial stout with real sweet-sour cherries from Yakima Valley, which added bright fruity notes. What really sets it apart is that we aged half the batch in port wine barrels and the other half in whiskey barrels, then we blended it all back together. The mellow port flavors contrast with the bright cherry flavors in a very cool way.

What makes this beer truly World-Class?
This beer has an interesting blend of flavors -- from the cherries to the malts and beyond to the wine and whiskey barrels. There’s a lot going on, but it all works together really well.

What is your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, etc.)?
Even though it’s strong (9.5% ABV), it’s smooth and easy-drinking. We also like the mix of roastiness with the sweetness of the cherries and the soft undertones of port.

How popular is this beer among your faithful fans?
Everyone who tastes it freaks out – in a good way. We’ve gotten great feedback – from the expert craft drinker to the wide-eyed novice.


Judge's Second Opinion
by John C. Tull

Each year that I have had the good fortune to serve as a judge for The Beer Connoisseur, there have been a couple of standout beers that really blow me away. In 2017, Breckenridge Brewing provided me with one of those beers in their Barrel Aged Imperial Cherry Stout. They achieved near-perfection in this rich, intricate blend of aromas and flavors, making this beer a clear stand-out from the field.

This Russian Imperial Stout infused with cherries and aged in a barrel generates an incredible mix of stone fruit, chocolate, coffee, pithy wood, some nuttiness and other aromas and flavors. The cherry fruit infusion is intense, jumping out in the aroma, but balancing well with the roasty and complex flavors of the base style such that it does not dominate or become a distraction. The barrel-aging adds vanilla and hints of wood, but it does not overpower either the beer or the fruit. Instead, it complements and enhances the beer by adding another layer of complexity without becoming overbearing or bringing noticeable alcohol flavors that sometime linger in barrels and find their way into barrel-aged beers. All of these components blend elegantly in the beer.

Breckenridge Brewing’s Barrel Aged Imperial Cherry Stout delivers aromas, flavors, and palate sensations that are uncommonly available in any other beer. The cherry addition and wood-aging show a degree of brewing artistry for which Breckenridge Brewery should be quite proud. If you can find a bottle of this beer, do not hesitate to grab a bottle or more. Otherwise, you will have passed up an exceptional beer that should not be missed. 


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worthel's picture
So,I'm a member, but I must pay another two bucks to read the rest of this article? Are you kidding?
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Hello Worthel, Our magazine articles are premium content and are reserved for premium subscribers. We researched your account and it does not appear you have purchased a premium subscriptions. If you feel this is in error, you may complete a customer service ticket by clicking "account services" at the head of the website. Cheers! BC

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Comments

worthel's picture
So,I'm a member, but I must pay another two bucks to read the rest of this article? Are you kidding?
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hello Worthel, Our magazine articles are premium content and are reserved for premium subscribers. We researched your account and it does not appear you have purchased a premium subscriptions. If you feel this is in error, you may complete a customer service ticket by clicking "account services" at the head of the website. Cheers! BC

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