Jul 13, 2012

Blue Mountain Barrel House Mandolin

This is the second of a trio of beers from Blue Mountain Brewery’s Barrel House series that I purchased a couple of weeks ago. The first was the company’s Local Species, a tasty barrel-aged Belgian ale. Mandolin is described as an artisanal ale on the beer’s label, but coule be described as anything a Belgian Tripel or Belgian Strong Golden Ale, though I’m leaning more toward a Saison or farmhouse ale of some sort.

At 9% ABV the beer is pretty darn potent and, with 34 IBU, it has a welcome bit of hop bitterness to accompany a light bit of barnyard-like character and a moderate sweetness. Mandolin served me just right the other night in celebration of power returning to our neighborhood after a chain of vicious storms rolled through a couple of days prior. Nothing like a big beer to wash away a little stress.


Mandolin pours a crystal clear amber in color with a head that fell slowly to decent lace work along the inner walls of the glass.


Apple, pear, Belgian yeast, spices, subtle grains and hay. Smells like a Saison with Tripel-like qualities.


The beer follows the aroma pretty well as apple, yeast, light spices and grassy hops arrive with an earthy quality. There’s a lingering bit of hay in the finish with that welcome hop bite I mentioned earlier. At 9% ABV, you’d expect a good deal of alcohol to be present, but it’s masked fairly well, leaving a light booziness in the finish. The moderate sweetness is present throughout and balances the earthy nature of the beer nicely.


So far of the two beers from the company’s Barrel House, I think I prefer Local Species of this one by a hair. I do like the Saison-like character of this beer, but if that’s in fact what it is, I’d like a bit more funk present. It’s just hard to fight the presence of barrel aging that Local Species brings to the table. Either way, Mandolin is an easy drinking beer with flavors that are spot-on for the season.


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