Cooperstown, New York-based Brewery Ommegang has been in the business of making Belgian-style beers for two decades now, and to mark the milestone they released their 20th Anniversary Ale late last year. It’s a Belgian dark ale aged for more than five months in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. While bourbon barrel aging is a booming trend among brewers, it’s not something typically seen with Belgian-style beers. We couldn’t resist picking one of these up over the holidays, and our tasting notes follow.
The beer pours a very dark amber color with a light head. The nose is mild but complex with caramel, chocolate, and plenty of dark dried fruit. The body is big and silky. It’s not overly sweet on the palate, which can be a problem for some barrel-aged beers, and there’s minimal bitterness. A bit of spice is present among the beer’s variety of flavors: apricot, cherry, cream soda, and juicy raisin notes. The bourbon barrel aging serves to tie all of that together with a generous sorghum and vanilla sweetness that hangs on well after the other flavors have faded. All in all, 20th Anniversary Ale is a fitting celebration for Brewery Ommegang. Here’s to 20 more years!
A- / $20 per 750ml bottle / ommegang.com