Jason Johnson's picture

Barrel Thief

Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
6 / 6
36 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

This is a very gorgeous beer, pouring a hazy -- but bright -- golden color with a thick mousse-like off-white head. The aroma is quite complex, with lots of fresh woody oak, some thick vanilla and ripe mango. I don't get a lot of traditional citrus and pine hop aroma, but the mango is very prominent. The malt profile is hidden a bit by the oak, which is a bit heavy. As it warms, the malt does come forward with some honey-kissed bready character, but I wish the oak was a bit more subtle and the mango-like hop profile shined a bit more. Overall though, the aroma is very good.

The flavor is fresh oak-heavy as well. There is a lot of mango/tropical fruity hops as a secondary flavor. The bitterness is soft and nice -- not bracing or harsh at all. The malt comes through a bit more in the flavor and is bready with a touch of toast. The flavors are just a bit broken apart so with age they would blend together quite nicely. The alcohol is not hot, but very noticeable, with a bit of a tingling, prickling sensation.

Overall the beer appears a bit young to me and would benefit from some aging of, at minimum, a few more months. The hop choice is pretty cool because I personally like the newer hop varieties and find the bitterness and flavors they provide to be interesting. If there are any traditional American hop varieties in there, I didn't pick any up. The beer is something you would certainly want to check out. Maybe get two of them: one to drink right away and one to age and try again later. I have the feeling this beer will shine in six months or a year down the road. The alcohol is pleasant already so it isn't too harsh to drink now, but the flavors are still a bit disjointed at this time and need time to meld together.