You know how the saying goes. "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Give a man three Four Roses barrels and he fills them with a highly rated 11.5% stout for a year and releases them at select Schnucks." It's a tale as old as time.
Thankfully, the folks at O'Fallon Brewery knew of this proverb and when Schnucks had some Four Roses barrels available, they did the right thing. While this Dates and Currant version is droolworthy, be prepared for two more variants, "Toasted Coconut" and "Plums and Figs" to be released tomorrow, also.
Here's what Chief Brewing Officer Brian Owens had to say about these variants:
This has been one of my favorite projects...being able to create three different variants using three Four Roses barrels. We sourced all of our ingredients from Schnucks stores and packed the barrels full. We chopped the Plums and Dates and toasted coconut in our O'Bar oven. The year spent resting on oak mellowed and married the flavors to perfection. We packaged the beers nearly still in carbonation as the flavor and viscosity needed no support. We hope you love them as they are all three so subtly different and unique in their own ways. It is always fun to create a "one off" like this that can never be recreated the same way. We hope you enjoy the variants as much as we do! - Brian Owens
Yeah. He makes things sound tasty. Let's get some more details about these variants, shall we? First we'll see what the base beer is:
Co'al Train Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.5% | IBU: 42
"Like the name implies, this beast of a beer is dark and mysterious. Co'al Train is viscous and velvety with delicate chocolate and coffee notes that balance well with the caramel, toffee, and dark fruit flavors. finishing with a nice firm roast traditional of the style, this beer will linger pleasantly on the palate long into the finish. Hops balance the sweetness of the malt but do take a back seat. The British yeast strain was selected to add subtle esters to compliment the malt and add to the beer’s complexity. Drink this “one off” selection now, or allow the beer to develop with age."
Okay, now that your interest has been piqued, let's see what makes these variants so special. Brian Owens again gives you the details on the project as well as his take on all three beers being released tomorrow:
In early March of 2016 we filled three Four Roses Bourbon barrels procured by
Dates & Currants
I love this variant as the flavors of the dates and currants blend so well with the toffee, caramel and raisin notes already present in the beer. We added dried dates and currants to the barrel which add a subtle nutty sweetness while enhancing the raisin character of the beer.
Fig & Plums
For this variant we loaded the barrel with dried figs and fresh plums. The plums add a slight tartness and stone fruit character while balancing the sweetness of the Figs and together they blend perfectly in this Imperial Stout.
Who doesn’t love toasted coconut, especially in a Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial stout. We procured sweet coconut from our friends at Schnucks and toasted it in our O’Bar kitchen to a beautiful golden brown. The coconut blends ever so softly into the beer with almost a toasted marshmallow flavor adding another layer of velvet sweetness to this already exceptionally smooth stout.
Well, that's one down and two to go for us. It's your turn now. Head to Schnucks tomorrow to grab your own!
|Location||Maryland Heights, MO|
|Style||Barrel Aged Stout|
|Distribution Info||Available 3/23/17 in 22 ounce bottles at select Schnucks|
|This smells amazing. That's not a great description for a beer review but dammit, it's how I feel! However, if forced to be official, huge wet tobacco, dark fruits (raisins, plums and....dates), and chocolate put up a good fight with caramel, vanilla and booziness from the barrel to come out on top. There is oak there too but it's the smallest of all the aromas.|
|The beer pours a viscous black with almost no head. The beer sticks to the glass when swirled but leaves no lacing as its consumed.|
|The booziness from the bourbon is easily offset by a host of other flavors present in the beer. The wet tobacco in the aroma is again quite present in the flavor and is joined by some very subtle tartness from the currants. The dates combine with raisin and plum again for some huge dark fruit flavors which come across in a big way. The barrel character is here, too with caramel and toffee leading the charge with vanilla right behind them. The finish is sweet and the aftertaste lingers with alcohol but considering the ABV and the bourbon barrel, that's to be expected.|
|The body is medium+, almost full with the carbonation coming in at medium. It's definitely a dessert beer as it sits heavy on the tongue and its sweetness stays long after you've swallowed.|
|So, the last time we had a barrel aged beer from O'Fallon it was their Imperial Pumpkin, also a Schnucks collab. That beer was great. It won a lot of people over and for good reason. This beer is on track to do the same. O'Fallon has fallen into the weird category of being around for so long, people overlook them. It's beers like this that will get them back on people's radar. While we didn't get to try the Toasted Coconut or the Plums and Figs version of this one, I can only assume that since they use the same base beer and barrels, they're going to be top notch as well. The one thing I will say is that while I would have preferred to see some head on the beer. However, even saying that, I'm just being picky as the lack of head didn't translate into a lack of carbonation. Again, there was just ONE barrel of this variant made and just ONE barrel each of the others. If you're curious about this and see it on the shelf at a Schnucks tomorrow, grab it because there isn't much to go around.|