Jun 6, 2017

Old Ox Cooper’s Cloak Belgian Specialty

Cooper’s Cloak is Old Ox brewing’s newest line of limited, barrel-aged beers. The first release in the series is Barrel Aged Belgian Specialty, a 7.5% ABV Belgian-style strong dark ale that has rested for some time in A. Smith Bowman bourbon barrels. The array of flavors presented, as a result of that barrel time, were perfect for the cold and rainy March afternoon during which I cracked this one open.

The barrel influence on this beer is measured and balanced. Smooth woody and light bourbon notes linger on the nose while fig, yeast and burnt caramel fills the air around the glass. Once the big Belgian-style ale hits the tongue, the barrel comes through a bit more, providing a moderate amount of bourbon flavor, woody notes and light vanilla. Caramel, raisin, fig, yeast and a moderate sweetness also come into play, creating an experience that is balanced and wonderfully cohesive.

Barrel Aged Belgian Specialty may be the first release in the Cooper’s Cloak series, but it’s got a maturity that let’s you know this isn’t the company’s first foray into the barrel-aged world. The big beer presents a wonderful flavor and warming nature that was ideal for a cold Winter’s afternoon. It’s also got a character that should age well given a bit more time to sit in the bottle.