Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Indpendence Brewing Jasperilla Old Ale

This beer is from a small brewery in Austin. They only make a few beers, and by all accounts most of them are pretty run of the mill, however one beer they do make that's special is their Jasperilla Old Ale. Named after the brewers dog, its packaged in a bomber bottle. I've had this beer once before and found it to be lacking. But that was back in September of 07 and I haven't tried another one since then. When I saw that Independence had released it again I thought what the heck let's give it another try. First though a little bit on the style.
The Style: As before I take the style notes from the Brewing Judges Certification Program guidelines. The aroma should be matly sweet with dried fruit, kind of like a sherry or port. It usually pours a darkish amber with a limited head. The taste should be nutty, malty, with some alcohol evident. One of the more curious things about Old ale is its name. It doesn't mean the beer is old. At one time Old Ale and barleywine were synonymous however those two styles have diverged to mean and represent two different styles. These beers are what used to be known as 'malt wine's' back in the mid 1800's. While most are agable, very few of them are well aged when released.
The Beer: This particular ale has been aged for 6 months and weighs in at a hefty 9.3% abv. The beer pours a copper color with at thin taupe colored head. Biscuity notes on the nose, yeasty, caramel, fruityness and a bit of alcohol burn in the nostrils. The mouthfeel is thick, with notes of slightly sweet fruit, dried fruit, berries, plums, raisins, a tartness before finishing with a slight alcohol burn. As it warms I get the impression of biscuits with marmalade and some bourbony oaky vanilla woodiness. Although not aged in wood as far as I can tell from the Independence Brewing Website it definitely has that feel. A little boozy may be my only real complaint here. This one get me back interested in Independence Brewery again, maybe the last bottle was bad, maybe my palate wasn't good, who knows, but this bottle was very nice and gets an A from me. Its been a while since I've had an Old Ale and I think additional research is necessary. As shocking as it may be I've never had one of the more classic examples of the style: Theakston's Old Peculiar. I'll have to find it now.

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