Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bridgeport Old Knucklehead #12

I finally got my hands on a bottle!

Ever since I've found out about this beer in my Beers of the World book, I've wanted one. I have always been a fan of the barley wine: its thickness, its ability to warm you from the inside, its high alcohol content, and especially its rich flavor. I have not reviewed too many barley wines, the only ones being Young's Old Nick and Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws.

BridgePort Old Knucklehead marks my second Oregon barley wine and my second BridgePort beer reviewed, my first being Ebenezer Ale (see that entry for a history of BridgePort). First brewed in 1989, this beer was designated a BridgePort Big Brew in February 2008. The batch I have, number 12, was aged in American Oak Bourbon barrels and blended back into the cask, which adds a wealth of flavor and complexity to the brew. The numbers not only correspond to the batch, but used to also designate a "knucklehead," or someone who has contributed to the brewing process. I'm not sure to whom #12 is or if they even do that anymore. Oh, and I believe it's bottle conditioned too, but it doesn't say so on the bottle. More fodder for the e-mail. (BridgePort - Our Beers → Old Knucklehead)

Here come the stats:

BridgePort Old Knucklehead #12
BREWERY: BridgePort Brewing Co., Portland, OR, USA
STYLE: Barley wine
FIRST BREWED: 1989 (this vintage brewed 2008)
ABV: 9.1%
ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 20.8° Plato (1087.32)
FOODS TO PAIR WITH: Desserts, by itself as "an after-dinner libation" (Beers of the World also suggests sausage casserole)
AWARDS: 2002 Brewing Industry International Awards (silver medal), 2000 Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival (2nd place), rated "Highly Recommended" by the Beverage Tasting Institute in 2002

I got all but the calories, malts, hops, and serving temp from the Old Knucklehead page. (Since they've switched to Flash, you need to go to Our Beers and click "Old Knucklehead".) The serving temp came from Beers of the World. A phone call or e-mail may get me the rest of the info.

This beer has a strong aroma, most evident as I poured it into my glass. It definitely had a malty syrupy nose that had just a little sweetness to it. A clear brown color also exposed an off-white, almost tan-colored head. The beer itself had a little bit of sweetness to it, but quickly transformed into an alcoholy malt flavor that, like the smell, was syrupy and thick. Because of all the alcohol (I mean, it is 9.1%), that was the flavor left in my mouth, which to me tastes similar to a hop aftertaste, but better.

This beer is excellently crafted, and I can appreciate its complexity. Since I had it laying around for almost a year in varying temperatures, who knows what a fresh Knucklehead, or one that further conditions for another year or two, will taste. Pick one up in the next month or so. Hell, grab three or four and let some sit for awhile before trying them.

Also: Stay tuned to The Beerocrat because next I will get to some beers I've been dying to review: Trappist beers!



Artist formerly known as Wurst said...

Dude, purchase some proper fucking pint glasses. Why in the hell are you serving ale in a glass fit for lager???

The Beerocrat said...

Buy me some, then. Put your money where your mouth is.