May 14, 2018

Sierra Nevada Trip in the Woods Maple Scotch

Trip in the Woods, Sierra Nevada’s line of barrel-aged beers, has been around for a few years now, but I believe this bottle of Maple Scotch is the first release in that series that I’ve crossed paths with. That said, I have reviewed the company’s Barrel Aged Narwhal prior to it being included in this series. Officially, however, this Maple Scotch is the first I have encountered with the new branding. It’s also one of the more disappointing beers from this brewery that I have cracked open in recent memory.

Now, when I say disappointing, I don’t mean that this 9.8% ABV Scotch ale brewed with maple syrup is bad — it just doesn’t live up to expectations when taking into consideration Sierra Nevada’s history of releases. The nose is all bourbon and wood. I’d like some of the maple or even the base Scotch ale to shine through more there. The flavor is much better as a strong bourbon presence leads the way for lingering malt sweetness and bread from the base beer. The full bodied ale has a good bit of woodiness, but not much of the maple syrup (maybe late within the lingering sweetness). The beer is quite boozy and warming with each sip which makes it a nice one for colder weather.

Sierra Nevada has created some incredibly tasty barrel-aged beers in the past. Maple Scotch almost feels a a bit novice in that regard. The barrel influence feels heavy handed and not on par with experiences I’ve had with the company’s other products similarly produced. I picked this one up shortly after its release was announced at my local shop, so maybe it needed some more time in the bottle to mellow and come together for a complete, unified flavor.