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Judge's Review: 90 Rating - Barrel Aged Brownie Batter Blend #3: Base by Pontoon Brewing

January, 2022
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
35 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Barrel Aged Brownie Batter Blend #3: Base by Pontoon Brewing is an Imperial Stout (BJCP 2015 category 20C) that becomes a Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (category 33B) due to the use of bourbon, rum and maple barrels.

This one pours black as ink with thick viscous legs and a low dark brown head that clings to the glass. The aroma is very complex with lots of sweet bourbon barrel character, vanilla, oak, chocolate, alcohol, caramel, mild coffee, toasted marshmallows, maple glaze and a touch of smoke. The flavor is similar to the aroma but with even more sweetness and bourbon. There is lots of booziness, which gives some warmth (as expected for the style) but without any of the harsh fusel alcohols that can be overwhelming -- this is still a beer and not just a carrier for the bourbon/rum. The carbonation is quite low, which tends to happen with barrel-aged beers, and this adds to the full, chewy body. It doesn’t carry quite the same richness of brownie batter, thankfully as that would be overwhelming, but it shares a lot of the same character. Loads of dark chocolate, bourbon caramels and toasted marshmallow sweetness. This is dessert in a glass without being cloying or overwhelming the underlying beer, not like the many pastry stouts in which sharing is required to get through an entire bottle.