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Judge's Review: 84 Rating - Breckenridge Biere de Garde by Breckenridge Brewery

October, 2018
Judges Rating: 
19 / 24
6 / 6
35 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Breckenridge Biere de Garde by Breckenridge Brewery​ is being judged as BJCP category 24C, Biere de Garde.

It comes served in a narrow-tapered glass, and the color is a deep orange/polished copper and both clarity and foam are fantastic. The beer is evidently highly conditioned as the outgassing is quick and abundant, and keeps the head standing tall. Totally looks the part!

The aroma is rich and malty-complex, with notes of biscuit, caramel and a distinct phenol pepper-spice, a backdrop of prune and raisin sweetness, and only a hint of herbal hop character.  The beer seems a bit aged due to some rounded woodiness that complements the malt character.  

The flavor profile took me little off guard. It starts very lush with caramel and hints of orange and spice with a big and sweet middle, with extremely low bitterness.  The late palate is long on honey and a strong sweet wine character that is very sweet and lasts all the way through to the finish. Fruit-grape and caramel (with lingering phenol)  dominate that aftertaste, with a bit of a fruity-acidic tang.  Make no mistake -- the beer is malt forward and the finish is sweet.  Mouthfeel is very viscous/thick, and creamy despite the high level of conditioning. Overall the body, very long and vinous finish, and a tad bit of heat indicate a pretty strong beer, one that seems both too sweet and too big for the style. To test that impression, I measured the final gravity at 5.5oP with a finishing hydrometer. While there is no doubt room to move within the style, the dryness and approachable drinkability hallmarks that come from the classic aging process appear missing.  What the beer does have is a very rich, lush and complicated malt profile, complemented by a distinct Belgian phenol character that is filling and quite flavorful.  Almost like a Biere de Garde on steroids, and really more of a strong ale, this beer's complex and sweet nature have me thinking it would match well with classic winter fare like a Veal stew or Coq-au-Vin.