Michael Heniff's picture

87 Rating: pFriem Scotch Barrel Aged Imperial Brown by pFriem Family Brewers

December, 2017
Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
6 / 6
35 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

pFriem Scotch Barrel Aged Imperial Brown is a being evaluated as a Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (category 33B in the 2015 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines).  For this category, the best examples have a "harmonious blend" between the base beer and the wood/spirits resulting in a flavorful, complex blend.  For 2017, this brown ale was aged in Macallan Scotch whisky barrels.

This beer pours a very dark brown color with excellent clarity and a fluffy, resilient tan head.  The aroma showcases Scotch whisky with its requisite peaty character while the malt aroma is simple caramel.  The flavor follows similarly to the aroma with a prominence of earthy and peaty Scotch whisky and a complimenting light vanilla.  The malt flavor is simple, basic caramel with a hint of chocolate.  The beer finishes with a light bitterness and moderate sweetness with a lingering Scotch whisky flavor and a pleasant warmth.

This beer has a wonderful Scotch whisky and barrel-aging character but, unfortunately, the base beer is bland resulting in a blend that lacks complexity.