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Sean Coughlin's picture

91 Rating: Barrel-aged Jude by Reformation Brewery

December, 2017
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
35 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Barrel-aged Jude is a Belgian-style Tripel and is being evaluated as a Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (2015 BJCP Category 33B) offering according to BJCP guidelines.

American oak wafts out of the glass and dominates the aroma.  Vanilla, charred oak, and mellow bourbon comprise the barrel profile with an underlying presence of bready malt.  No yeast aromatics are present.  There is a bit of alcohol in the aroma as the beer warms but is well tempered by the explosive oak barrel presence.  This an attractive beer – bright gold with exceptional clarity and a medium sized white frothy head that stands its ground. 

The flavor follows the aroma with dominant oak.  There is a light lemon-zest hop flavor that emerges and helps to refresh the palate.  Hop bitterness is moderate and overall balance is weighted towards the barrel.  This beer is medium bodied with moderate carbonation.  There is a light tannic presence from the oak, but it suits the beer nicely, emphasizing a semi-dry finish.  Overall, a very enjoyable beer but lacking some of the characteristic Belgian yeast profile.  More yeast derived fruit and spice would be a welcome addition.  The barrel dominates the beer to the point of overshadowing the base tripel.  In a way, this drinks like an Imperial American Blonde Ale aged in bourbon barrels.  A good candidate to age for a year or two to see how the balance of the beer shifts.