Monday, March 12, 2012

Brewmaster Series Centennial Red

Long Trail's Brewmaster Series features four beers including a coffee stout, double IPA, imperial porter, and the Centennial Red, their Imperialized version of a red ale. Although the availability is normally from November-January, I got a chance to sample from the last keg offered at Skyburger.

Alcohol Content: 7.9%
IBU: 55
Malts: Two-Row, Caramel, Roasted Barley, Chocolate
Hops: Centennial, Nugget & Chinook

Price: 2$/ 8oz sample glass or 4$/ pint
Medium: Served in an 8oz sampler

Aroma: A pungent floral and citrus hop aroma of Centennial supports a complex caramel malt focus with some additional aromas of woody/ earthy hops and some sweetness from darker malts. The roasted barley plays only a minor role in adding a light touch of roast. This is combined with a slight alcohol warmth underneath the layers of malts and hops. Extremely well balanced and pleasant.
Appearance: Crystal clear with a deep amber & an emanating red glow with the help of some direct sunlight from the nice sunny day. The roasted barley most likely plays more of a role in this. The server poured for almost no head, maximizing the 8oz sampler. Looks rather still, with minimal retention around the rim and no visible carbonation after the initial pour.
Flavor: Definitely a nice alcohol kick in the presence of layer after layer of malt sweetness and dark caramel. The mid-palate is met with an assertive and balancing bitterness (but not over the top). Hop flavors consists mostly of floral and citrus notes. Finish is crisp and pleasant. Aftertaste is combination of residual sweetness of caramel & molasses.
Mouthfeel: Very warm from start to finish from the alcohol, but this only supports the experience. Feels a bit chewy like a barleywine, maybe from a high percentage of caramel malts in the mash. Carbonation was moderate to moderately-low.
Overall Impression: Balance was key to this experience, and this beer delivered! Its hard to believe how well the malts and hops match up to the 7.9% ABV. I love how Long Trail interpreted what an Imperialized version of this beer might look like. I would include this in a barbecue dinner night with a heavier aged cheddar.

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