Sal Mortillaro II's picture


October, 2016
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
32 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

This Barrel Aged Belgian Quad pours a dark brown color with a fluffy, light-brown head which quickly dissipates, but leaves a ring around the glass. When held to the light, the clarity is clear and ruby and orange highlights can be seen in the beer. A strong and deep malt aroma is prominent consisting of bready and raisin-like notes. No hops are detectable. A moderate ester note of rich, dried plums and cherries follows. There is a layer of low spicy ethyl alcohol nestled between the malt and ester aromas. A whispy and light barrel character is detectable in the aroma. There is a low sourness, which is relatively clean, but out of place for the style. The flavor is very similar to the aroma in both intensities and descriptors with the exception of the sour note being more prominent of low-moderate in intensity. Malt sweetness is medium, bordering medium-high. The balance is towards the malt with the perceived alcohol and sourness providing a grounding note. Lingering in the finish after the swallow is the malt character and barrel notes. The body of this beer is medium, bordering medium-full with plentiful carbonation. A low alcohol warmth is noticeable on the side of the cheeks. The malt character coupled with the alcohol makes for a creamy beer in the mouth. However, despite it’s perceived creaminess, the higher ABV assists the beer drying out in the mouth after the swallow. Overall, this beer stylistically favors a stronger Belgian Oud Bruin. The acetic / lactic sour notes suggests infection, with the barrel aging being the most likely source as the porous wood tends to become home to many micro-flora. This beer was scored based on BJCP 33A:Wood-Aged Beer assuming the brewers intent. Proper sanitization of the barrel is key to not harboring bacteria that could provide sour off flavors down the road. However, if scored based on a BJCP 28B:Mixed-Fermentation Beer this beer fairs very well and could easily be scored as a high end Exceptional beer based on The Beer Connoisseur scoring standards as it was very pleasant and tasty treat to drink.