Bent Brewstillery is known by its patrons for being on the cutting edge of brewing whatever the heck they want. They are not married to styles and consistently provide us with beer that tastes great and makes us think. On Friday they released Ol’ Guerrero, a barrel aged version of their Chilean Double Stout, El Guerrero. You can check out my review of that El Guerrero here.
The Ol’ Guerrero is a great example of what a barrel aged beer should be. At 10.1% ABV, it is a heavy hitter. The 40 IBUs are definitely from the malt and dark chocolate bitterness and act more as a way to balance out the flavor that assault your palate with too much bitterness. What I noticed immediately is that the dryness and heat from the pepper has been mellowed out by the barrel aging process. This creates a very smooth mouth feel and it goes down nicely. The booziness is not heavy-handed and it is almost deceiving that this beast of a beer is 10.1%. If you want the full compliment of the flavors, do yourself a favor and take it out of the fridge, go stream an episode of something other than According to Jim on Netflix and come back to it. That way, it will be properly warmed to allow for the maximizing of flavors and aroma.
As Ol Guerrero warms, you can better identify the chocolate and the essence of the Jack Daniels barrel that the beer was aged in. The pleasant booziness is what makes this beer a winner in my book and if you drink it too cold, you will miss out on that. Also, as it warms, the slight head from the chili will be more defined.
The beer is pitch black with very little head. The mouth feel is velvety and smooth. The boozy warmth will build on the back of your tongue as you enjoy Ol’ Guerrero sip by sip. The aroma is full of bourbon and oaky goodness which gives the assumption that this beer might be too strong, but rest assured that it is not overpowering. The aftertaste is a nice combination of dark chocolate and a little bit of molasses. If you are lucky enough to have a bottle of El Guerrero left in your cellar, pick up some Ol’ Guerrero and drink them side by side to experience the difference. The similarity that these two beer share is that they are both delicious, so go to Bent Brewstillery and grab a snifter or a couple of bottles to enjoy yourself!