Joseph Formanek's picture

Judge's Review: 79 Rating - Looping Owl by Right Brain Brewery

February, 2018
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
4 / 6
33 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
14 / 20

Looping Owl by Right Brain Brewery is labeled as being an Amber ale aged in Bourbon Barrel. Unfortunately, it comes through more as whiskey-diluted with a somewhat mild amber colored beer. This is being evaluated as a Category 33B Specialty Wood Aged beer as per the 2015 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines.

Bourbon and wood notes are very evident in the aroma, followed by a touch of sourness coming through as sour cherry.  There is very little malt or hop character present.  The color is an amber-brown with crystal clarity and a fair white colored smaller bubble head that is quite fleeting.

Bourbon dominates the flavor, pure and simple. There is a subtle sweet malt flavor well behind this. Bourbon and sweetness linger through the drink from start through finish with no hop bitterness or other fermentation characters to balance this out besides the slight tartness and a touch of wood. There is a definite alcohol warming in the finish along with the somewhat cloying sweetness, which is rather surprising for a mid-6% ABV beer. The body is comes off as medium-thin, and the carbonation is at a moderate level. 

Overall, Looping Owl simply needs to be drier and exhibit more of the base beer character in order to fit the category as well as to be a more enjoyable drink, unless you are a fan of Bourbon diluted with water and a little sweet beer.