Friday, July 24, 2009

24. Great Divide 15th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA

Another enjoyable beer from Great Divide in ­­­Denver, CO, brewers of the already enjoyed Denver Pale Ale, or DPA for short. And in this case, their latest offering is a beer in honor of their 15th anniversary. If an anniversary is the excuse Great Divide needs to add another delicious beer to their brewing line up, then I’m all in favor of it—here’s to many more.

Opening with a malty nose that also brings with it oaky and tannic notes, Great Divide’s Wood Aged DIPA is a deep burnt sienna color that also carries slight red highlights—it’s like that old wood paneling in the back of your grandparents’ house, only in a liquid and much more delicious form. While there is a lower level of carbonation than some of the other beers we have been sampling, there is still a very creamy tan head that laces the glass, and a soft creaminess in the mouthfeel that belies the minimal carbonation. The beer begins with an even malt flavor before moving into a tannic oakiness that is mixed with creamy roasted and lightly burnt flavors, and finishes with a bitter resinous hop flavor along with vanilla hints at the end. While the oak flavors are still pretty big and raw, it is not overbearing. I can see a less forgiving critic (ahem) being turned off by such flavors—possibly complaining about the beer being like “chewing on bark” or getting a “mouthful o’ acorns”—I found the oak flavors well suited to the malt body, and more an indicator of the potential for the beer to continue to develop with aging. There is currently a bit of alcoholic warmth to the beer, but it meshes well with the oak and creaminess to round out the beer across the palate. There is also less of the initial breadiness found in many of the other Great Divide ales, although this is undoubtedly attributable to both the larger alcohol content and the younger age of the beer—there hasn’t been enough time for the oak and malts to marry together. While more maltiness and oak emerges in the flavor profile as the beer warms, it still is a beer that should age well and come into its own with at least another year or so in the bottle. Which sucks, because we only bought one extra bottle as a backup.

God damn this beer is good.

From the Great Divide website: "Based on our most award-winning beer, Denver Pale Ale, this copper-hued treat is a celebration of everything Great Divide does best. Plenty of malty sweetness provides a backdrop for earthy, floral English and American hops, while French and American oak round off the edges and provide a touch of vanilla. Thanks to everyone who's supported us for the last 15 years - here’s to 15 more!"

ABV: 10.0%


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