October 22, 2012 | Beer, Reviews, Virginia Beer

Blue Mountain Isabel Bourbon Aged

Blue Mountain Isabel Bourbon Aged photo

Blue Mountain Brewery just keeps churning out more products through their Barrel House limited run of beers. Each one has been unique, carefully crafted and enjoyable. The brewery’s bourbon barrel aged robust porter, Isabel, isn’t just your standard wood-aged brew. The 6% ABV porter is brewed not only sitting in the barrel by itself, it’s also in there with cocoa nibs from Ghana and Spanish orange peel.

I’m not sure how much of which ingredient has gone into the brew or how long it’s been aged in the barrel, but this brew certainly has some unique characteristics and the orange peel really comes out over a subtle bourbon presence. The end result is a porter that is not only robust and earthy, but also intriguing.

Appearance

Isabel pours with a large, tan head and black in color.

Aroma

A large amount of orange peel fills the nose while a hint of bourbon and a touch of cocoa mingle in the background. The bourbon shows through a little more as the beer has had a chance to warm in the glass.

Taste

Wow. I knew the orange peel would figure fairly prominently in the nose, but its presence in the flavor is surprising. It’s right there front and center along with roast coffee, earth and subtle cocoa. I don’t pick up much bourbon after the first initial sips, but it does come through a little more as the beer has settled in the glass. A light hop bitterness lingers in the warming finish that’s also a little on the dry side which is appropriate for the style.

Overall

This is certainly one of the more unique porters I’ve had. Personally, I’d like to see a touch more bourbon and less of an orange peel impact. Had this beer been less earthy and with a richer, more dominate cocoa presence it would have been like drinking chocolate covered oranges. As it stands, Isabel is a a pretty solid beer. I don’t know if I’d buy it again, but I’m certainly glad I found a bottle to sample.

Rating: 3.75/5

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