Apr 19, 2018

3 Stars Desolation

I’ve had many — MANY — liquor barrel influenced beers in my time. Whether aged wholly in a barrel, staves (or spirals or chips) from former barrels or even with cinnamon sticks that wee soaked with bourbon, I’ve encountered several different methods of imparting additional flavors into a brew. Desolation, from 3 Stars, however, is the first, I believe that has been brewed with coffee beans that were aged in rye whiskey barrels. It’s a novel concept that imparts a surprising amount of rye and barrel influence on this 9.6% ABV imperial porter.

Rich, dark coffee dominates the aroma and flavor profile as a malt sweetness, smooth rye whiskey and gain all present themselves evenly. A decent amount of hop bitterness arrives late in the swallow to keep that malt sweetness and chocolate notes in check. Without that bite, Desolation may have gone off the decadence deep end. Instead, we have a balanced and smooth drinking porter with excellent character and lovingly warm finish. The full-bodied brew is a treat.

I thoroughly enjoyed Desolation. It’s a beer that not only presents a great flavor, but utilizes a novel concept (those rye whiskey aged coffee beans, if you hadn’t gathered) to great effect, allowing it to compliment the base imperial porter instead of overwhelming it as can often occur with atypical ingredients. I’d love to find this one in bottles so that I could play around with a little cellaring. Curiosity has me intrigued as to how the flavors would develop over time.