Barrel Aged Brews 

click to enlarge KELSEY HAWES
  • Kelsey Hawes
Spring releases are already starting to hit the shelves, but baby it's cold outside, so those will have to wait. What you want now is a broad-shouldered brew like a stout and, to amp things up a bit, make it barrel aged. Here are three that will warm away the winter chill:

Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout, $3.99-$4.79

A porous tan head that collapses quickly tops this ebony pour. The creamy malt aromas are a bit boozier than expected from a brew with a modest 6.9 percent alcohol. With just three months aging in Wild Turkey barrels, the bourbon element is subdued, lurking behind almost buttery flavors that mix sweet toffee and milk chocolate.

Boulevard Brewing Whiskey Barrel Stout, $11.49-$14.99

This one is an equally dark pour with a quick fading, tan head. The nose is a heady mix of spicy chocolate, coffee, toffee and dark fruit punctuated by sweet whiskey. Fresh brew is blended in to add balance, and it does tone things down a bit. The palate is a sweet combo of chocolate, dark coffee, date, vanilla and spice. It weighs in at a heady 11.8 percent alcohol.

New Holland Brewing Dragon's Milk, $3.19-$3.59

Broken record time: This is another dusky pour with a fast-fading, tan head that's a bit thinner than the other two. The oak definitely comes through on the nose, backed by sweet malt, vanilla, chocolate and a touch of anise. There's a nice hit of roasted malt flavor too, along with chocolate and licorice. This lightly carbonated brew finishes warm (11 percent alcohol) and smooth.


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