Monday, 7 January 2013

Triple What?

In 2009, as an impulse purchase, I stuck a bottle of Samuel Adams Triple Bock into my shopping cart. Since then, it's been stored in a cellar for a year, moved 420km, lived in another cellar for 8 months and was then moved again and lived in a cardboard box till recently. Between Christmas and New Year's, I decided it was time to pop the cork. In the back of my mind, i seemed to recall mixed reviews, to say the least, but i didn't want to spoil the moment looking anything up.

Incredibly oily, staining the glass like so much Castrol GTX after an oil change, and leaving thick encrustations on the inside (on the sides, mind) of the bottle, and literally oozing an aroma like port laced with soy sauce, musovado sugar, dark cherries and pflaumenmus. Phoar! I was almost afraid to taste it,and indeed, it's a bit of a whopper, as one might expect from a c.18% beer. But It left me conflicted, with some really compelling flavours, and some not so. On the one hand, it's pleasingly greasy on the tongue, with an initial high-molasses sweetness infused with concentrated prunes, dates, cherries and a smear of Seville orange marmalade, all of which is wonderful until ten seconds later, when a huge dose of medicinal bitterness washes over everything. Being generous, I'd say really high cocoa content chocolate, which combines nicely with the darkly sweet dried fruit precursor, but in the end, it jars, leaving an empty space after the rather pleasant umami/fruit thing it had going, replacing it with band aids and campari with soda.

It's an odd beer, and a bit like finding a dead animal in the woods, desperately interesting and almost repelling at the same time, so you just can't leave it alone.

A couple of days later, I brought the rest of the bottle over to a neighbour who was having a Schlachtfest. Basically, they start at 6 in the morning with half a pig, and by mid afternoon they have rows and rows of sausages, fine cuts of meat and 100s of tins of Bratwurst, Leberwurst, Blutwurst, you name it. Of course, it's thirsty work, so that's when I pop over (and stay till 3 or 4am). I think about eight or ten people tried it, and none liked it at all. Well, with one exception, Bastian, who is studying brewing in Weihenstephan found it really interesting from a brewing perspective, but not to his taste.

In the end, I think I like it, but am still not sure, so it's probably t most confusing beer I've had.

On an aside, I brought a bottle of BrewDog Tokyo* too. That went down better with the natives, though I got the lion's share.

Edit: Forgot to mention, this was the 1997 vintage.


DrJohn said...

"like finding a dead animal in the woods". I might agree, but for me this dead animal was a tad putrid! Lucky enough to try this at the Beoir Christmas get-together but I didn't enjoy the experience. I couldn't imagine drinking a full bottle at a single session. Too much soy sauce!

Barry Masterson said...

I'm not sure anyone could drink a bottle of this in one sitting. A Tokyo* I can manage, but this, no way! That glass I poured proved too much :)