Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mass Extinction (Phillips)

This is an ice barley wine. I have never heard of this style of beer. There are ice bocks (ie. eisbocks) and yours truly once brewed an eisdunkle. Everyone's favourite Hermannator is an eisbock. To brew an eis-anything you take the finished beer, freeze it and use the unfrozen liquid. The fancy term is called freeze distillation. When you freeze the beer, only the water forms into ice. The remaining liquid is higher in alcohol - and usually - higher in flavour.
I have a few reservations about this beer. The first is that it is only 12%ABV. A barley wine runs about 10-12 ABV% already. Old Cellar Dweller is 12% ABV and Phillips Trainwreck is 10% ABV. If it was freeze distilled three times - as the label claims - where is the big jump in ABV? Everyone's favourite gimmicky brewers - BrewDog -have done frozen beers before. The Tactical Nuclear Penguin was frozen twice? and it hit 32% ABV. Sink the Bismark was frozen four times and it hit 41%ABV. So why did a thrice frozen beer increase so little in ABV?
The second reservation is a minor one. It comes in a twist off bottle? Not very suitable for aging.

Mass Extinction (Phillips) = 3/10

Admittedly I started drinking this beer a little too cold. It smelled faint of jet fuel, dark fruit and rum. The sip started off with an alcohol and bitter hop burn. This then morphed into an overtly sweet mix of caramel, fruit rum pot and Nin Jiom cough syrup. It reminded me of a watered down Swedish bitters. Yes, I used a wee dram of Swedish bitter for comparison. At the end of the sip you were left with a long burning of alcohol, rum sweetness and herbal hop bitterness. It was very hard to discern any distinguishable flavours. The flavours changed once the beer warmed up and vented off some of the alcohol vapours. More tastes of caramel, citrus, herbs and molasses could be noticed. Would I recommend this beer to a casual-beer drinking friend - no. I might suggest it to the beer geek who has tried everything

Taste +0
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 12%
Value 0
Appearance +1 (fun label and good description of the beer)

Other frozen beer reviews

Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock (Dang this beer is good)
Yankee Jim Ice Bock (I hope Yankee Jim gets hit by a bus)
Hermannator (A local and Canadian favourite)


Lon said...

Trust me, that ain't 12 abv. That is just a legal thing, much like Driftwood have done with the OCD and Singularity.

Adrian (@anyland) said...

I really enjoyed this brew. I bought a bottle for a buddy and he didn't like it at all. He is a more casual craft beer drinker.

Great descriptions though Ian!

Dan said...

Can I just freeze commercial beers and achieve the same thing? My brain is starting to whirr.