Alright, no more mucking about, Winter is coming and so are the delicious beers that accompany it. We have been spoiled in the past with some ridiculous dark beers from our friends at Fremont Brewing Co. Dark Star, Kentucky Dark Star, KDS w/ Coffee, KDS Spice Wars, Bourbon Barrel Abominable, BBomb with Coffee & Cinnamon, etc. They have all been top notch and completely exceeded expectations. They have also certainly become harder to attain. With bottle limits put in place by the brewery and bottle shops, some of these releases don’t even survive for a weekend, there simply isn’t enough to go around. That said, if you are fortunate enough to find one or two of the wax capped Fremont bottles I strongly suggest you snatch them up while you still can! Some will stick around longer than others, but for the most part, they go quite quickly.
So what do we have here before us with Brew 1000? The brewery describes this as “…a 100% Bourbon barrel aged Barleywine brewed to celebrate our 1000th batch of beer! Fremont Brewing Company began as a dream in 2008. Years later, our dream has come true in each and every one of you, our craft beer family. And like every family, we have had our ups and our downs but we keep coming back together knowing we are stronger together. In your hands is a special nod to you, a gift for now that will continue to give many years from now should you have the patience to wait…Brew 1000. This English-style barleywine uses floor-malted English barley, Noble hops and extended bourbon-barrel aging to bring you a complex and subtle craft beer flavor experience. We brewed this to celebrate brewing our 1000th brew and we look forward to sharing it with you, our craft beer family. It is said that 1000 represents the immortality of happiness and we hope this beer brings you immortal happiness, or at least one fun night…Because Beer Matters! Down & Dirty: Maris Otter Pale and Carafa Malts, White Wheat, with Magnum and Goldings hops. This beer was brewed on 2/25/14 and aged in 13 year old heaven hill barrels for 15 months.”
Well now that is quite a lead in to this, a gigantic English Barleywine aged in Heaven Hill barrels for not 6, not 12, but 15 months! Sounds fantastic already. Let’s dive in nose first, shall we?
Brewery — Fremont Brewing Company, Fremont, Seattle, WA
Beer (Style) — Brew 1000 (Bourbon Barrel Aged English Barleywine)
ABV — 13.1%
Price (oz) / Availability — $22.49 (120z) / Extremely Limited (Brewed Once)
Appearance (4.5/5) — As noted before, Fremont doesn’t mess around with waxing bottles, I can assure you that the fight through their wax will be well worth it, it’s also one of the easier wax-jobs to remove and enjoy the contents of the bottle as well. Brew 1000 gets a cream colored, slightly antiquated looking label, and is topped off with a subtly understated purple wax cap. Okay that’s all good and well, but what about the inside of the bottle, what does this behold? A slow pour out of the bottle yields an incredibly dark brown body of beer, with a somewhat thin and sticky head thats color is reminiscent of the label. There are some thick and spotty spots of lace left around the inside of the glass, it looks somewhat syrupy, very rich looking, I might need a fork and knife here.
Aroma (4.25/5) — Oh well hello there Mr. Bourbon, Heaven Hill has a rather diverse portfolio of Bourbons ranging from the economical Evan Williams range, Rittenhouse Rye, Old Fitzgerald, Larceny Bourbon, Bernheim Wheat, and my favorite – Elijah Craig which has great notes of vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, and of course oak. Now, Fremont doesn’t explicitly state which Bourbon barrels were used, but I am going to guess that they used the sumptuous Parkers Heritage 13yr Wheat. Whatever they used it is delicious, and you can certainly understand that this spent 15 long months in the barrels. The aromas are dominated by sweet, delicious Bourbon. Some vanilla, caramel, cocoa powder, dark fruits, oak, leather, cinnamon, spice as well.
Taste (4.5/5) — This was certainly a sipper, and as it warmed up from about 50º to room temperature over the evening it really showcases a broad depth of flavors. Everything from Amontillado Sherry, to leathery and chewy oak notes, balanced with plenty of dark fruits, Bourbon soaked figs and dates, vanilla, coconut, freshly cured tobacco leaves like stepping into a tobacconists Havana flagship store. Each sip brings on new flavors, it sounds overwhelming but its not, there is a ridiculous balance that has been achieved here, this is fantastic.
Mouthfeel (3.75/5) — As expected, this is a huge beer, it is chewy, thick, resinous, heavy, dark, bold, and borderline cloying. If this was a couple notches sweeter it would be borderline undrinkable. I love heavy beers, but this one is certainly up there against the threshold. Somehow none of that really detracts from the beer. All that said, I wouldn’t advise any one person to consume this solo in one sitting. Share this amongst family or friends, or ration the thing out over the week.
Overall (4.25/5) — An exceptional beer to mark a landmark. Keep up the good work Fremont, and please send me a case or two of Coffee KDS, please?
Cheers all, enjoy the week!