Walter Mencken 3:39 p.m., June 18
Thinking inside the box – Part 2
Notes and factoids on the rest of The Lost Abbey Ultimate Box Set
Yesterday, I rode the spirit of Thanksgiving overindulgence, sharing tasting notes on the first four beers in the dozen-strong set of barrel-aged creations included in The Lost Abbey Ultimate Box Set, which is being released tomorrow. Here are my tasting notes for the remaining two-thirds of the collection, along with interesting information about each beer from The Lost Abbey (155 Mata Way, #104, San Marcos) director of brewery operations Tomme Arthur.Image courtesy StudioSchultz.com
Track 5 | Shout at the Devil
Description: A 7% alcohol-by-volume blend of two of The Lost Abbey’s most fruit-forward beers, Framboise de Amarosa raspberry sour and the cherry-laced Flemish-style sour Red Poppy Tasting Notes: Raspberries explode on the front palate. The sourness of the cherries turns the red fruit taste profile almost savory, bringing on a Grenache-like flavor in the finish. Arthur Anecdote: From the box set’s conceptual beginnings, Arthur, who was raised Catholic and not allowed to listen to or purchase “devil music,” knew he would incorporate a Motley Crue song. All that lipstick and the pentagram on Tommy Lee’s bass drum equated to rebelliousness to him and has resonated as he’s marched to the beat of his own kick drum during his brewing career.
Track 6 | Highway to Hell
Description: A dark, liquor-laced, high alcohol combination of some of Arthur’s biggest beers—Deliverance, Bourbon barrel-aged The Angel’s Share barleywine and brandy barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout Tasting Notes: Coconut on the nose transitions to brandy and bittersweet chocolate on the tongue. Silky smooth and easy to love, this sipper is straightforward and elegant despite its massive weight. Arthur Anecdote: The first non-sour or non-wild yeast beer of the set, Track 6 was inspired by Deliverance, a blend of brandy barrel-aged The Angel’s Share and Bourbon barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout that’s released every January, Arthur went the opposite direction, utilizing the same beers out of different barrels to show just how different the end result would be.
Track 7 | Devil Inside
Description: A rebirth of a fruity “sangria beer” released under the name Veritas 006 during San Diego Beer Week in 2009 Tasting Notes: As billed, it tastes like sangria, but with a cutting, citric tartness. Orange is the main flavor, but it possesses the fruit flavor mish-mashery of a red wine sangria. NOTE: Veritas 006 is one of my all-time favorite beers and this update did not dash my high expectations. Arthur Anecdote: Track 7 is made from the same base beer as Track 5 with orange peel and orange zest added to the barrel, which brings on a nice citric quality.
Track 8 | Number of the Beast
Description: The Lost Abbey’s Belgian-style quadrupel, Judgement Day, aged in bourbon barrels with cinnamon and chilies Tasting Notes: If one didn’t know there were chilies in this beer, they wouldn’t likely figure it out. The peppers blend in with prominent coconut and raisin notes and earthy spiciness devoid of capsaicin heat. Arthur Anecdote: This beer won a bronze medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival in a category featuring 70 entrants. It’s the box set beer Arthur is most proud of, but not just for the award. He’s happiest with what quality assurance director Gwen Conley was able to do—successfully answer the question: how can we get a beer to taste like an oatmeal cookie? This beer was such a success, it may someday find its way into The Lost Abbey’s regular rotation.
Track 9 | Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Description: Arthur’s namesake cherry-stoked Cuvee de Tomme with currants and an additional round of Brettanomyces Tasting Notes: A slight bitterness makes the beer taste more cranberry than cherry, but with tartness far exceeding the jiggly cylindrical magenta mass of Ocean Spray's Turkey Day mainstay and a boozy, brandly-like spike that comes on from the mid-palate to the finish. Arthur Anecdote: The barrel of Cuvee de Tomme that was used to make Track 9 was one that had been left behind during previous Cuvee blending sessions because it possessed certain qualities Arthur and company deemed undesirable. But you’d never know it from how nicely this beer turned out.
Track 10 | Bat Out of Hell
Description: A chocolate and coffee bolstered version of Serpent’s Stout Tasting Notes: It’s like a cup of mocha java…a really good one. Coffee beers are all the rage and this ranks right up there with some of the very best on the market. Arthur Anecdote: Just as Arthur had nothing to do with Track 8, this beer was the work of head brewer Mike Rodriguez, who originally introduced it at last year’s San Diego Strong Ale Festival at Pizza Port Carlsbad. From the beginning, this was slated to reappear as part of the box set.
Track 11 | The Devil Went Down to Georgia
Description: A new spin on Bourbon barrel-aged The Angel’s Share infused with peaches and black tea Tasting Notes: Dessert-like in that it tastes like peaches cooked down in molasses and deglazed with a touch of whiskey that isn’t completely cooked out. Full-bodied and sweet right now, it should mature nicely if properly stored. Arthur Anecdote: This beer was developed to match the flavors of a southern peach tea and Bourbon cocktail called “The Burn.” Another fun fact, Arthur’s initials are T.E.A.
Track 12 | Heaven and Hell
Description: A refreshing yet substantial combination of three sour, non-fruited beers Tasting Notes: Pleasant and not over-the-top, like a CD, Track 12 makes for a nice segue back to the beginning of the track list. Like apple juice with a subtle alcoholic spike, it’s a bit like Track 1 but with some exotic dankness/funk to it. Arthur Anecdote: Here’s a fun lagniappe for those picking up their box sets tomorrow. You know how sometimes there’s a hidden track at the end of an album. Well, let’s just say this might not be the final track in this series after all.