Friday, June 13, 2008

Absolutely Divine

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 6 is out. Good luck finding it. I reserved a couple of six-packs through Grapevine Market, and apparently I'm not the only one – they said they ordered 10 cases, and all were reserved before they arrived. Other people are complaining that they can't find it. (Brock, you really need to start producing bigger batches of DR.)

No. 6 is a very solid barleywine that I thoroughly enjoyed last night, although it didn't quite move me to outright raving. But tonight, I'm having an absolute
revelation:Last September, I reviewed Divine Reserve No. 5 as "not the best imperial stout I've ever had … but it's still damn fine." But I stashed away a sixer of it in my closet and have been letting it age for nine months, and I opened one tonight, and am now experiencing, for the first time, the joy of aged beers. I'd heard aging high-alcohol beers produced interesting results, and they were right. The taste of this stout has both mellowed and intensified, if that makes any sense. The alcohol comes out really strongly – you can smell before it ever gets to your lips – and then once you sip it, and the roasted and chocolate malts come out so beautifully. I'm in absolute heaven. Appropriately enough.

I'm going to open up another No. 5 a few months from when it starts getting colder. And I've already set aside a sixer of No. 6 to age.

Is it too early to say I can't wait for Christmas?

UPDATE: Okay, I just tried another bottle of the No. 6, and maybe it's just because I already had some other beer in me, but it tasted fantastic today.


Bill Shirley said...

I was at a friend's house last night and he had one waiting for me.

I'd have to say it needed to warm up a bit after the fridge, and was fabulous after it did!


assurbanipaul said...

I'm not sure extended aging is best for the DR#6. Aging tends to mellow the hops character, and while this might have turned the DR#5 into a gem, I can only think it will dull the sharp, crisp nature of the DR#6 when fresh.

Lee said...

That's a good point, Paul. Nonetheless, I'm gonna try it. Don't forget: Dogfish Head recommends aging for their 120 Minute IPA, which is extremely hoppy.

Tor Hershman said...

Visit moi's blog for the Glory Grog video.

Michael said...

I think I heard of DR#5 from your blog (thanks! and so I'll share a story), and I was lucky to find four sixers at Central Market south after having resigned myself to having missed the boat. I left one on the shelves to share my experience with someone.

I had the bottles in a cooler outside for a couple of days, and all the labels came off. I liked DR#5 so much I was selflessly bringing extra bottles to share when I saw friends.

So I attended a friend's bbq a couple of weeks ago, and they said there was some Shiner in the fridge and "oh yeah, there's mystery beers in the bottom drawer". Obviously, I went to the bottom drawer and I saw amongst the selection two Saint Arnold's caps with no labels.

It didn't register until my next trip to the drawer what they were. Again I felt compelled to share, but thought better of it since they'd already been shared once and relegated to the random beer drawer.

They were so good. I don't think I'd be capable of recognizing them as better over such a time span unless the difference was considerable. They were so good. I thought $13 was steep for a six-pack, but I might pay $13 for one bottle now.

Muddy Mo said...

I'm working on building my UFO club beer list at the Flying Saucer in KC and wondered if you have any tips on an approachable Barley Wine? They've got Avery Hog Heaven on tap; Anchor Old Foghorn, Arcadia Cereal Killer and Schlafly Oak Aged in bottles.

Lee said...

Michael, leaving that one six pack on the shelves brought good karma back to you.

Muddy: I'm not sure that any barleywine is "approachable" – you can't go into one faint of heart. That said, I think Foghorn is quite good. Two other favorites of mine are North Coast Old Stock Ale and Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, but the latter probably won't be available again until spring. I don't think I've ever had the Hog Heaven, but I don't think I've ever gone wrong with an Avery beer.

Strong recommendation: only have one at a sitting, both for purposes of being able to get yourself home, plus one the second one I always find the alcohol taste gets too overwhelming.

matt said...

Every time I want to age a beer it lasts around a month before I lap it up.

Tor Hershman said...

For the devine beer ad of them all just visit moi's blog and check the latest video.

Lee said...

Tor: yeah, I saw that commercial a few days ago. Good stuff. What's it from?