Review #456 – 460 | /r/Brandy Review #7-#11 – Copper and Kings Cr&aftwerk Beer Barrel Finished Brandies
The Schtick: I apologize if it seems like I’m a C&K rep at this point – I promise I”m not. I’ve either purchased or split each of these bottles myself. They were what effectively launched me into my love of brandy, so we have C&K to thank for that, though. This is the line of Beer Barrel finished brandies released by Copper and Kings in 2016/2017. To the best of my knowledge, there were only these 5 to start. I’ll be reviewing them in the order I tried them, polishing off each of my bottles this week. Each was aged for some unspecified time in ex-bourbon, then finished in a select beer vessel for an unspecified amount of time. Each is NCF, NCA and bottled at 111pf. I’ll admit, I have no idea how they did the Oskar Blues one.
- Oskar Blues Imperial IPA
- Sierra Nevada Smoked Porter
- Three Floyds Dark Lord
- Against the Grain Scottish Ale
- Sierra Nevada Chocolate Cherry Porter
Oskar Blues IIPA
Nose: Rich fruits, malted grains, almost graham cracker. Syrupy fig, apple, grapes and some light hoppiness.
Taste: Thick mouthfeel, sweet syrupy fruits. There’s some real funkiness here, not quite hoppy (think Charbay notes) but there’s some really doughy, yeasty, funky notes to accompany cocoa, stewed fruits and some sulfur and pipe tobacco.
Finish: Long, mild in terms of heat, nice and complex, with a good mix of doughy, yeasty notes and typical brandy sweetness.
Overall: I thought this may be a palate disaster – never have I really thought a dark spirit, especially a fruit based one, would benefit from some IPA hoppiness. Luckily, very little hoppiness comes through and the mostly yeasty, doughy characteristics of the IPA body add to the sweet, syrupy body of the brandy. Overall, I’m pretty impressed by this one. 6/10
Note: at this time, if you’re a member of the KL inside advantage, this bottle is half off, making it a lowball $27.99. Darn good price. I’m not advocating you buy it, but it’s $55 at stores near me. $28 is sure a lot less than that.
Sierra Nevada Smoked Porter
Nose: Sweet vanilla, pepper, stewed fruits. Some sulfur, nice tobacco notes. A hint of smoke, but nothing like an Islay scotch, or that awful “cigarette in the fermenter” note that some garbage craft beers have.
Taste: Nice rich mouthfeel, sweet syrupy fruits. Lots of cocoa, some allspice, rich peppery tobacco. Overall, it’s tough to pick out where the brandy notes end and the porter notes start, but it makes for a nice complex dram. It’s still sweet, as most brandies are, but leans in the cocoa direction, rather than just super jammy fruits.
Finish: Medium length, a little heat, but not too bad. A hair smokey, but again, pretty mild. Lots of cocoa here, with a return of the stewed fruits.
Overall: This was really interesting. I liked the direction it took – it was certainly unique, but I really didn’t find myself reaching for it very often. 5/10
Three Floyds Dark Lord
Nose: Sweet vanilla, caramel, malted grain, some nice raisen. A hint of cocoa, rich toffee, stewed fruits like figs, dates, pears.
Taste: Thick mouthfeel, rich dates, cocoa, some tobacco, light sulfur. Vanilla and cream are here also. Toffee, raisins, apples, and almost some PX sherry notes.
Finish: Long and rich. Well balanced between sweet fruits, raisens and some tobacco.
Overall: I had concerns this may be too sweet – since brandy is very sweet (usually) and Russian Imperial Stouts are generally sweeter, also. All in all, this was complex, well balanced, not overbearing. 6/10
Against the Grain Scottish Ale
Nose: A bit more subdued, stone fruits, sweet creamy vanilla, tobacco, a faint smokiness, almost like a smoked meat.
Taste: Pretty rich, not a lot of heat. Some funky fruits, apples, pears, vanilla and some cocoa. There’s a hint of salted caramel and some toffee.
Finish: Medium, some astringency, but not too bad. The darker characteristic of the ale helps round out the overt sweetness from the fruits, but the influence is mostly nuance.
Overall: I liked this, but didn’t feel like the finishing here added much. There was some nuance, sure, but it didn’t really integrate as well as the Oskar or the Dark Lord. Still not a bad brandy, though, and happy to drink it. 5/10
Sierra Nevada Chocolate Cherry Porter
Nose: Rich cocoa, leather, tobacco, some allspice, apples. Figs, stone fruits and stewed sherry notes. It’s almost like a blend of dark espresso, Oloroso and PX sherry with a nice peppery backbone.
Taste: Thick, rich. No heat. Rich cocoa here, some faint cinnamon and allspice. I can’t really shake the feeling of chocolate dipped strawberries and a blend of Oloroso and PX, without the cloying sweetness. Complex and well done.
Finish: Long, no heat. Sweet and savory – lots of cocoa here with caramel, toffee, stewed fruits and some nice subtle pepper.
Overall: This is easily the favorite of the bunch. It’s not pictured in the photo since I bought it later than the rest, but I’m really a fan here. The balance is well done, and so well integrated into the base spirit.
Thanks for reading!