Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado. I'm pretty sure you guys understand the occasion for brewing this beer. The label is nice with silver lettering on wood-panel blacks and grays. The story on the side says this beer is based on their award-winning Denver Pale Ale and was aged on French and American oak chips. Finally, though, some suggested food pairings I've heard of and could pull off: bacon & blue cheese hamburger, barbecue ribs, caramel cheesecake, and others. I paired it with nothing but my lips though this time. Big 22 was bottled on March 17, 2011.
Lots of oak in the aroma, buttery, and with a sweet toffee backing. Very pleasant. Sweet caramel and buttery toffee flavors are your main starting point. Oh, and megatons of oak character. I can't stop thinking buttered toast with a strong dose of vanilla on the side. You will taste some typical IPA flavors as well, mainly pine and a touch of citrus. Oh and you sure as hell will know that there is plenty of alcohol in this beer. You might not guess it's 10.0% as the wood is constantly there soothing and saying everything will be just fine. Like the bottle says, the wood "rounds the edges".
I guess in the end, the pine flavors win by a nose and it is on the slightly bitter side of wonderfully balanced. The consistency is quite thick and chewy--I'd have actually preferred it a little thinner and a bit more bitter. Definitely hard not to keep coming back to oak and butter as they are really prevalent parts. It's not a secret that I am mostly not a wood guy, so don't let it bother you if I say that part of this beer was nearing too much. Anyway, I liked this beer quite a bit. Check it out. Congratulations, Great Divide!
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