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Monday, July 9, 2012

From NY, Southern Tier Brewings Cuvee Series One

Friends and Family month on MDB continues with a beer and brewery introduced to me by.....

... my mother-in-law, Marian!

The typical mom-in-law she is not. Aside from giving birth to the love of my life, she's an amazing "Geema" to our two daughters, a great cook, and  has been known, on occasion, to bring cases of hand selected craft beer singles when she visits.

No joke. Some of the breweries she has introduced me to are Mikkeller (Denmark), Williams Bros of Scotland, and the subject of today's rave- Southern Tier Brewing of NY.

On one of her recent trips Marian brought several selections from Southern Tier- Creme Brulee Stout, Pumking Ale, Chokolat Mocha Stout, Back Burner Barely Wine- all of which are outstanding, by the way. Southern Tier is very big on BIG, BOLD, flavors-Creme Brulee stout tastes like creme brulee.

 She also brought one beer that came in its own special box...

Oak Aged Ale Cuvee Series/Series ONE
Southern Tier Brewing, Lakewood, NY
11% ABV

There is depressingly little info out there about this "Cuvee Series". The brewery's own webs site has NOTHING about it.

What I can tell about the series is that it features strong ales aged on different types of Oak. My bottle was "series one", which was French Oak. Was it aged in a wine cask? I don't know, but a Google search for "Cuvee" leads me to believe yes.

This beer pours a hazy orange brown, with a thin head that quickly disappears, leaving only light, tan lacing on the glass. 

Smell is alcoholy and malty. Dried fruit sweetness presents at first sniff, followed by spicy wood notes.

Mouthfeel is thick and heavy, with little carbonation.

Taste is strong and bold- warming alcohol greets you with a slap, followed by pungent dried fruits (raisins, dates, prunes?) which bring both sour and sharpness to play, followed by a slightly more modest, spicy wood  accent. Finish is surprisingly mild and dry (or maybe the other flavors and alcohol just killed my pallete?).

This is a substantial, exceptionally well crafted, serious beer with complex flavors and sensations. Not to be taken lightly.

Recommended more as an after dinner drink or after work cocktail, as I think it packs too much punch to be paired with a meal.

 I will buy series 2, 3 and 4 if I see them.  

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