Back in my formative years in craft beer finding a new beer that I haven’t had before was always exciting. There weren’t many breweries around, so drinking the same beers over and over was par for the course. These days with so many breweries in my backyard and the expanded distribution of so many breweries I would die long before I was able to get to a fraction of the beers available near me. With that being said I am always excited to try a new beer from a brewery I have never heard of. Often times when standing in the aisles of my local bottle shop, I tend to lean towards the beer that I have yet to try over the beer next to it that I have had even when I know it’s good. That is often a choice I end up regretting but I still continue to make it.
This week I have a beer from a brewery I had never heard of before I secured the bottle in front of me. Wyndridge Farm is a 77-acre family-owned farm just outside of York, Pa. The farm produces a wide range of beverages including wines, ciders, craft sodas and—of course—beer, along with having a restaurant and inn on the property.
Wyndridge Farms Barrel Aged Imperial Stout is a 13.9 percent ABV imperial stout aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels and aged for nine months. I am a big fan of non-adjunct barrel-aged stouts and I am excited to crack this one open.
The beer pours jet black with a finely packed head of chocolate milk-colored head. A quick whiff of the glass brings classic bourbon barrel-aged stout: dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, roasted malts, vanilla and bourbon. This beer smells delicious and has everything I want in an aroma for the style. As I dive deeper into the beer, I get notes of toffee and chocolate-covered hazelnuts and for being just shy of 14 percent ABV I surprisingly get very little booze on the nose.
The first thing that jumps out at me with my first sip is the alcohol. Throughout the sip it is noticeable from the initial sharp punch of alcohol followed by the dryness in the finish then the heat creeps in. Roasted malts and bourbon barrel are the biggest stand out on the flavor followed by unsweetened cocoa powder and coffee.
The barrel is very assertive and it stands out more and more as I make my way through the glass. I get vanilla and oak in the sip then the finish is heavy bourbon. Notes of toffee, charred wood and molasses are also there but behind the heavily roasted malts and bourbon barrel. The viscous chewy mouthfeel is spot on for the style and the low carbonation adds a hint of fluffiness to the mouthfeel.