Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Long Trail Triple Bag

Long Trail Triple Bag is characteristic of an American Strong Ale. Its step up from Double Bag in alcohol content with somewhat of a similar profile. I saw it displayed on a sign outside of JP's pub as I was walking by and just couldn't resist catching their last keg on tap for the season.

Alcohol Content: 9.2%
IBU: ?
Malts: ?
Hops: ?

Price: $5.25 at JP's Pub
Medium: Served in a regular pint glass

Aroma: High alcohol content as shown by a nice warming sensation in the nose with each whiff. This is backed by very complex layers of malt partaking aromas of molasses, toffee, caramel, and some darker malt notes. Little to no hop presence. Strong bubblegum/ fruity ester from fermentation.
Appearance: Very clear pour with a deep amber/ mahogany color. A minimal white-ish head appeared and quickly faded back into the beer. High alcohol beers may or may not have good retention. Appears filtered from the nice clarity. No distinct carbonation characteristics.
Flavor: This beer opens up with heavy caramel and toffee characteristics. This is matched by a strong biscuity malt flavor that really brings the style together. The hops lag behind its forward malt presence, contributing no distinctive flavors but offering a sense of balanced bitterness. Yeast character is slightly spicy, possibly from phenols, or may be confused with fusel alcohols. Aftertaste can be described as a strong malty finish with some residual sweetness - not cloying.
Mouthfeel: Its very similar to an American barley wine in its heavy body, warming alcohol sensations, low carbonation, and chewiness that coats the mouth from start to finish. Malty finish is slightly sharp with an overall mellow drying effect.
Overall Impression: What's really nice about this example is that is well-rounded from start to finish without overdoing the alcohol presence. I feel this would be a nice introduction to some of the higher alcohol varieties for one who may not have this acquired taste yet. Try the Triple Bag before moving on to something with a sharper alcohol quality like the Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale (12%).
* At second review of the beer, I noticed more of the fusely alcohol character that I was unsure of, or at least in identifying. I also know that the brewery uses Ringwood yeast and ferments for just a week before packaging. This could be the reason for stressed yeast, leaving considerable fermentation character in a high ABV beer.

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