Launched in the small town of Williamsburg, Va. in 2006, AleWerks Brewing Co. has quickly gained national attention for its many different labels and styles, but what has garnered the most attention is its Brewers Choice (Brewmaster Reserve Series) that is produced each year on a limited basis. Prior releases in the series like Bourbon Barrel Porter, My Bitter Valentine, Grand Illumination and Café Royal have brought many acknowledgements, awards and great respect to this nine-year-old operation.
This year, from the Brewers Choice Series, comes the ninth installment of Jubilee.
Jubilee has gone through many incarnations throughout the years and just keeps getting better and better. The newest release is a Belgian strong dark ale that has been aged for three months in Virginia straight bourbon whiskey barrels.
Excitement and anticipation builds as the extremely tight fitting cork is pulled from the thick glass of the 375ml bottle.1 Immediately, bold aromas of bourbon and aged oak fill the air as the beer is poured.
This anniversary ale pours a deep, dark chocolate brown with just the lightest of mahogany tinges around the outer edges and has just the slightest film of light tan head and no noticeable lacing. Carbonation is almost non-existent and shows itself just a bit upon agitation of the glass.
Aromas are bold with bourbon, oak, brown sugar, molasses, raisins, mission figs and yeast and the taste is similar with flavors of caramel, heavy bourbon, vanilla and dark fruits. I anticipated a little heavier feel, and even though it coats the tongue with caramel and booze, Jubilee IX seems to be just a tad weaker than I would have wanted. Flavors blend fairly well despite the big amount of bourbon and the lack of viscosity.