Beer of the month – October 2016 – Bourbon Oktober, Vibrant Forest Brewery

A tricky month this one. Lots of strong contenders (in terms of quality and alcoholic strength). All bar one of these were sampled in the same week of October, when we were on our East Anglian epic adventure, part two.

Finishing off our “Summer House Beer Festival“, we had a Guatemalan Coffee Extra Porter by Buxton Brewery, bottom right in the picture.

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We’re up all night to drink coffee. Massive coffee nose, big coffee flavours with vanilla mixing in there too. There are lots of coffee porters out and about, this is a good one.

Another new beer next, a Triple Knot Tripel by Adnams (perhaps unsurprisingly for a week in Southwold), made with Pilsner malt, acidulated malt and invert sugar fermented using Adnams house yeast as well as white wine yeast. It’s hopped with Eldorado and Pacific jade and a sprinkling of botanicals – lavender, orange blossom and jasmine. Quite unusual for a beer.

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Orange, honey and lovely warming Autumn flavours. Dangerously drinkable for 10%, it tastes nowhere near that. A slight bready character often associated with sparkling wine too. Really delicious stuff, this would make a great Christmas day ale.

We step outside of the holiday bubble for a moment to try a Three’s Company by Cloudwater Brew Co. A three way collaboration with Magic Rock and JW Lees, using the latter’s 4709th generation yeast culture.

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Boom! A hop bomb has been dropped from a great height. Massive NZ hop flavours and something to tide everyone over until Cloudwater’s DIPA v8 gets out into the wild.

We stay hoppy with an Imperial Red IPA Special Edition by Vibrant Forest Brewery which is “built” on their “RadicAle Imperial Red IPA”.  This is what they have to say about it. “The aroma now sits on a maltier backing with reduced hops and the giant citrus and tropical notes have replaced by thick fortified waves of cherry, plum and deep woody syrups. The boozy aftertaste has mellowed and the whole experience is utterly different to how we initially presented it.”

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This is what I have to say about it. Boooooooom! Massive caramel malts, hoppy happiness. Very very good. A special edition indeed. As you can tell, I liked this one.

We return to our collage (bottom left) for this month’s winner, Bourbon Oktober, again by Vibrant Forest Brewery. This is”Black Oktober” but aged in a fresh bourbon barrel for nearly 6 months.

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This produces a big bourbon vanilla beast which was quite stunning. Vibrant took their existing full bodied strong stout (with aromas of dark chocolate and liquorice) and the barrel aging process has added spicy notes and vanilla. It was certainly worth that extra work and wait. Bourbon barrel brilliance and a worthy winner.

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