BRING THIS OUT: Pelican The Perfect Storm 2008
The Perfect Storm was renamed Mother of All Storms in 2010, and the name’s not the only thing that’s changed about this bourbon-barrel-aged, English-style barleywine: After three years in our cellar, the once hot brew turned luscious. A slight booziness tickles the nose as sweet caramel and cherry scents pair with refined tobacco and almonds. A slick, sherrylike mouthfeel carries elegant aged notes across the tongue; a sweet caramel base pulls dark cherries, vanilla, tobacco and pepper together. Despite this beer’s age, alcohol still snakes through its cohesive ensemble of scents and flavors, and while it could rest for another year or two, The Perfect Storm’s swell seems to be at its peak.
LAY THIS DOWN: Widmer Barrel Aged Brrrbon ’11
This bourbon-barrel-aged version of Brrr Seasonal Ale (a hopped-up amber) is like a race through the mouth among four contestants: citrusy hops, bready malts, woody tannins and spicy, hot bourbon. Tasted fresh, it’s a palate pleaser, but after a year in the cellar its threads will fuse into a rich profile. The bright orange hop notes will fade, but Brrrbon will emerge with more developed barrel notes: Likely, coconut and vanilla will accent pronounced caramel sweetness, while the bourbon’s heat will bow to a pleasant peppery spice. Put one away this winter, and you’ll have a stunning barrel-aged beer waiting next year.