A collaboration between Surly Brewing from Minneapolis and De Proefbrouwerij in Belgium, Long of Tooth is an old ale brewed with brettanomyces and aged on cacao nibs and toasted oak.
Surly was started by Omar Ansari and Todd Haug has been brewing for 11 years now. But, it only took them was a quick starter, it only took 16 months from the time it sold their first keg to be named best brewery by BeerAdvocate magazine and its beer, Darkness, best American beer by RateBeer.
De Proefbrouwerij is a self-described third party brewer, specializing in doing small batch runs that are in collaboration with other breweries. According to their website, “Our customers include beer architects (who most often contribute their own recipe), start-up or existing breweries (who have their own recipe or a recipe that is jointly developed), and individual initiatives.”
Now onto the beer, Long of Tooth pours like a mud pie I used to make as a kid. It is a deep brown and amber color with tons of sediment, and very cloudy. A light tan head about of about an inch rests on top of the beer with very large bubbles and it sticks to the side like light maple syrup.
The smell on this beer is like nothing I have encountered, the dominating scent on the nose was a very heavy sweet dried dark fruit smell, much like raisins and plums. I could get a real sense of this beer being a Belgian on the nose as well, it was very malty and smelled much like a dubbel or quad would produce. I could also detect some caramel, vanilla and bittersweet chocolate on the nose, but it was fairly muted and overshadowed by the dried fruit and Belgian yeast notes. Finally, there was the presence of dry oaky funk, like wet and moldy hay, but this was very muted and played a small role in the overall nose of the beer.
The flavor of this beer is really hard to peg, unless you are a huge fan of old ales I wouldn’t think many people would have anything at all to compare to this beer.1 The closest thing would be a big quad or other dark Belgian beer, but this one is very unique. The three main tasting notes of this beer are as follows; up front it was extremely malty, very chewy with a lot of sweetness that gives way to a roasted oak finish from the wood and the cacao nibs. Finally, at the end, I tasted a really strange bitter and mildly funky flavor that I could not peg. It doesn’t taste like hop bitterness, but rather an earthy bitter flavor, possibly from the toasted oak being a little funky in some way,