Brewery – Cold Spring Brewing Company, Cold Spring, Minnesota
Beer – John Henry Colonial Cream & Brown Ale
Style – Imperial cream and brown ales blended and aged on brandy oak spirals
ABV – 9.3%
Color – Reddish copper with a light tan head
Aroma – Brown sugar, waft of tart cherry, little bit of spice, toasted bread, hint of alcohol
Flavor – Caramel, toasted rye bread, light roast coffee, raisin, slight tart cherry again, balancing bitterness, bit of alcohol
Verdict – A very enjoyable sipping brew with an aroma that pleasantly matches the flavor, but with less roast. While alcohol is definitely noticeable in the aroma and flavor, it is towards the subtle end of the spectrum and doesn’t detract at all from the rich character. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this beer, but after trying it I would definitely recommend that others do as well.
P.S. – This brew is advertised as being aged on brandy oak spirals. Rather than using oak barrels, it can be more cost effective for a brewery to use spirals like this. Due to their large surface area, they can increase the amount of oak characteristics extracted. Typically, if there is a spirit associated with the oak spirals (like the brandy for this beer), it means that the brewery has actually soaked them in the spirit before aging the beer on them. I haven’t officially confirmed that this is what Cold Spring did with this brew, but it is a good possibility.