Tag Archives: triple c brewing

Taste Test: Triple C The Force with Smoked Gouda

One of my stated goals this year is to do more work on beer and food pairings.  So, here is what will hopefully be the first of this year’s tasting reviews paired with some kind of food.

Cheese is probably my favorite pairing with beer.  There are so many different cheeses and so many different beers that the pairings are endless.  My favorite cheeses almost all fall into the semi-hard category. It is not uncommon for me to buy a gouda, smoked gouda, manchego, or an aged cheddar along with a good bottle of beer and make that my lunch/afternoon snack.

This review started with an inexpensive smoked gouda I found at my local grocery store. It was one of those spur of the moment purchases.  Anyway, after I bought the cheese I scrounged in my fridge to find a beer that worked with a creamy strongly smoked cheese.  A BBA tripel seemed like the perfect fit.

The Triple C The Force BBA Tripel is part of the growing barrel aged program at Triple C Brewing in Charlotte.  The barrel aging program is one Triple C plans to make even bigger his year.

20160222_152303The Force pours with a nice amber color and moderate head.  The aroma is a classic tripel aroma, funky Belgian yeast esters, mixed with the caramelly bourbon aromas from the barrel aging.  On the face of it, that sounds like it would be almost sickly sweet to smell.  However, the aromas work well together and add to one another not overwhelming the drinker.

You get a noticeable, but not overwhelming alcohol taste along with the Belgian candi and funkiness and bourbon sweetness.  The caramel tastes from the candi and barrels reminds one of caramel candies you buy in the grocery stores that stick to your teeth when you try to chew them.

This is where the cheese comes through for you with the smoked cutting through the sweetness.  In turn, the sweetness combines with the creaminess of the gouda much like a glass of milk works with a chocolate cake.  This was a pretty successful pairing because the beer and the cheese worked well together on a couple of different levels.  If you have a free afternoon and like beer and cheese, this is a more the worthwhile way to spend it.

Taste Test: 2015 Up All Night and 2015 Up All Night Bourbon Barrel Aged

One of the trends that has taken hold in craft beer over the last few years is barrel ageing beers. They have become so ubiquitous that the Beer Judge Certification Program, the primary style definer of American craft beer, has two new categories for the 2015 edition of the style guide.

I find barrel aged beer interesting because they are usually a version of another beer the brewer already makes.  How the ageing changes the beer via the time spent in the barrels and the properties the barrels themselves provides the beer are both fascinating.  Depending on the type of barrel used, i.e. bourbon, gin, rum, scotch, tequila, or wine, what the barrels provide the beer is different each time. Bourbon barrels provides additional sweetness and caramel and wine barrels provide tart or buttery notes depending on the wine.

Despite the common misconception, the ageing does not provide more alcohol to the beer.  There are two reasons why this misconception persists.  The first, many times the beer aged in the barrels is a high ABV beer in order to stand up to the ageing.  The second is the beer usually takes on some of the taste characteristics of the liquid that was originally in the barrels.  The taste of bourbon often makes people think of alcohol.  I make a bourbon pound cake that people swear gets them a little drunk even though the alcohol cooks off as the cake bakes.

20160113_101339Weighing in at 10% the Triple C Up All Night and Up All Night Bourbon Barrel Aged start off big and flavorful.  Let’s begin with the Up All Night.

Up All Night is a breakfast porter, which means it is brewed with coffee.  Using a strong taste like that as your base for a bourbon barrel aged beer is important.  The bourbon tastes can overwhelm the beer taking away its unique qualities.  A

After pouring a nice dark brown with a good fluffy head, you get the clear aroma of coffee when you take a sniff.  There are also hints of vanilla and honey once it warms a bit.

When you taste it, its big coffee flavor matches the aroma with notes of honey on the back end.  As a fan of both coffee flavors and honey, I enjoy this beer immensely.  For a beer with as big an ABV and use of honey, it is still a porter which makes it comparatively light on the tongue and dangerously easy to drink.  High ABV beers often have what is termed a boozy taste, meaning the taste of the alcohol is present and honey often gives a beer a cloying heavy taste.  Neither is present in these beers.

The bourbon barrel aged version differs slightly.  As it should.  It is a little inkier and thicker in appearance.  That may be the psychological effect of knowing it is a bourbon barrel aged beer.  The aroma also changes in that the coffee is shunted to the background by bourbon and hints of caramel.  It isn’t as light on the tongue and has a more velvety feel on the tongue.  Interestingly, to my palate, the roasted nature of the coffee is more pronounced and give it a little more bite. Again, that is why coffee is a good match for barrel ageing, it is a strong flavor that stands up to the bourbon, in this case.

The bourbon barrel Up All Night does what a barrel aged beer should do:  It adds different flavors and highlights ones already present in the original version.  Both Up All Night and Up All Night Bourbon Barrel Aged are well worth your time if you can still find them.

Here is another cool thing, this time, next year, I will do a vertical tasting of 2015 and 2016 bourbon barrel aged versions.  I’m already looking forward to it.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 9/28/15

Good morning.  You remember me?  I have a beer blog.  It has been a minute, but I’m back.  I don’t plan on taking another extended break like that again.  What are the Five Articles about today?  What do you think?  The Great American Beer Festival.  I missed this year’s event, but I will be in Denver next year.  Here are a few different perspectives on the event and what it means coming at you.