Sunday, 4 August 2013

Beer Tasting: Partizan Barrel Aged FES

I recently tried Partizan's Barrel Aged FES (Foreign Export Stout). This is the first barrel aged beer Partizan has put out so far. The beer debuted at the Haand Beer Festival in Drammen, Norway in late May before going on sale down in Bermondsey in mid June. The beer pours deep, brown-black with a strong, frothy beige head. Lightly charred, somewhat ashy roasted malts abound in the aroma, with a bit of cocoa and earth as well. The flavor is medium sweet with lots of rich, dark chocolate, sturdy roasted malts, subtle dried dark fruits, ash, chocolate-covered cherries, burnt wood and burnt marshmallows. It's medium to full bodied with fine, creamy carbonation. There is moderate alcohol warmth in the finish, further dark chocolate, mild bittersweet baking cocoa, a bit of torched barrel, mellow earthy bitterness and burnt sugars. It's great stuff overall. The nuances imparted from the barrel are subtle - a successful outcome from barrel aging, in my book. Some barrel aged beers can be completely dominated by the barrel in which they were aged, leaving little character of the base beer behind; that is not the case here. I wouldn't say I like this beer any more or any less than the original beer. This iteration has perhaps a bit more bitter, burnt wood and slightly more muted, rounded sweetness, but the overall character is similar. Bottom line,  it's nicely balanced and quite drinkable, especially for the alcohol level and intensity of flavors. (Score: 4.1/5.0)

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