Trip in the Woods | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
From a 750ml bottle (caged and corked) served slightly chilled at 14 degrees Celsius into a TeKu glass. Best before 09/02/2019 – I have little idea of how old this beer is but I didn't really care picking it up at the LCBO. My expectations are quite high considering the brewery and the style. Let's pop that cork!
The beer pours a brilliant very dark brown (red highlights) with 6cm of dense, mousse-like, tan head that dissipates into a thick cap within 4+ minutes. Great lacing with persistent head especially for the high ABV. Gorgeous, world-class.
Medium-strong and sweet. Round, rich, and complex. The aroma is toffee-bourbon forward with subtle notes of vanilla, oak, maple syrup (yay!), dried fruit, and butterscotch. All that soaked in alcohol. Mild earthy hops at the back and a whiff of sulphur. Ooooh, and some light pome fruit. Very enticing. The dry nose is filled with notes of toffee, bready malt, and maple syrup.
Follows the aroma with strong intensity, sweet-ish balance, and pronounced perceived bitterness. It's hard to tell if the bitterness is from the hops or the alcohol but it's spot on - this beer is not cloying to me. The palate opens up with toffee, dried fruit, and faint sugary sweetness (maple syrup?) which make way for pronounced bourbon, ethanol, and mild earthy hops. Hints of vanilla and oak. The long finish is strong and balanced with notes of bourbon, toffee, and dried fruit.
Full body with mild carbonation. Heavy, round, and smooth with nice weight but restrained chewiness. Alcohol warming of moderate strength – definitely boozy but not hot. No astringency or harshness of any kind. Fabulous.
Sierra Nevada's Trip in the Woods is an outstanding beer demonstrating excellent craftsmanship. I had some reservations going into it as a beer with these specs could easily be a hot mess, but as soon as that liquid hit my tongue I knew I was in for a treat. The beer is surprisingly balanced for a sweet base style and having maple syrup as a special ingredient. The alcohol and hops – as much as they take a backseat – do their work to keep this from being cloying. A dessert sipper for sure – a must try in my books. I can't help but to think of Founders Backwoods Bastard which would be an interesting point of comparison.