Nick Carr on December 7, 2015 1 Comment Quick Characteristics Brewery: Abita Brewing Company Location: Abita Springs, LA Style: Spiced Fall Seasonal ABV: 8.5% IBU: 18 Appearance: The color of maple syrup, with good clarity and head the color of dirty snow. Aroma: Bourbon, vanilla and oak hit your nose; Whispers of maple, caramel & nuttiness peek through. Flavor: Maple syrup combines with bourbon-aging; Pecans, vanilla & oaky notes highlight the boozy sweetness. Hops: ? Malts: Pale, Munich, Biscuit, and Caramel malts Special Ingredients: Maple Syrup & Pecans Shelf Life: Several Years Suggested Glass: Tulip or Snifter Serving Temp: 50°F – 55°F Availability: Fall Seasonal Pairs With: Rare Grilled Pepper Steak, Smoked Sausage, Comté Cheese, maple pecan cake We’ve already had a couple snows up here in northern New Mexico and small patches cover the high country. Winter is approaching fast and I find myself drawn more and more to the darker, heavier, more robust offerings lining the beer shelves. But, before I take the full plunge into Christmas-themed beers and winter warmers I thought I’d review one more fall seasonal; one that could be considered a winter warmer. A beer riding the cusp between seasons. I’ve reviewed only one other Abita beer on here, but have tried several others and have yet to find one I don’t thoroughly enjoy. They do their work well and as detailed in the Strawberry Harvest review, they are all about sustainability; something I believe every craft brewer should be continually working toward. The Bourbon Street Maple Pecan seemed a perfect companion for this time of year, being a dark malty nut brown and barrel-aged to boot. All this season I’ve had my eyes open for Abita’s Pecan Ale, but sadly never found it. Instead I turned up its newly born and much more robust big brother. Abita’s barrel aging program was only started a few years ago and this is the brand new third installment in what they’ve dubbed the Bourbon Street line. An Imperial Stout and Baltic Porter round out the list. Each of these beers are aged in bourbon barrels for around 8 weeks enlivening them with flavors of oak, vanilla, and the slight boozy-sweet burn of bourbon. Can’t wait to give it a taste. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Bourbon Street Pecan Maple. If you tasted this beer or have a pint in front of you right now, please share your review or tasting notes with everyone in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: A somewhat aggressive pour builds a nice two finger head the color of dirty snow. Head retention is fair, as it drops to a frothy surface covering in a couple minutes. Clarity is very good. Color is reminiscent of Grade C maple syrup. Aroma brings slight boozy elements of the bourbon, but more subtle than other bourbon aged beers I’ve tried. Vanilla and oak come through, but don’t overly mask the whispers of sweet maple and caramel. A nutty aroma peeks through too, possible combination of roast malt and roast pecan. Very rich and pleasing. Mouthfeel and Taste: Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly viscous-like with low carbonation pushing a medium full body. It carries the 8.5% alcohol well, warming across the palate and into the chest without exaggerating its presence. Tell-tale qualities of maple syrup show in the front palate sweetness, combining with the bourbon ageing. Mid-palate drops the pecan nuttiness into the mix, which shines with the vanilla and oaky woody character. Bourbon hit the back palate with its boozy sweetness. It fringes with fiery warmth on the swallow and the aftertaste is that of bourbon gone nutty. FINISHING THOUGHTS Another Abita offering that does not disappoint and one that complemented the inch of snow still standing in my front yard. It actually made me reconsider another bourbon-aged beer I’ve reviewed on here. Having something to compare Alltech’s Kentucky Bourbon Ale to, I think it may have been a little too heavy on the bourbon, mind this is only from memory, but it did seem to have more of a bourbon punch than Abita’s. I enjoyed it at the time and would no doubt still enjoy it, but somehow Abita’s, though a smidge higher in alcohol and having been aged the exact same amount of time, seems less boozy. Maybe it is just a difference of barrels, but I think it as a lot to do with the added complexities contributed by the addition of maple syrup and roasted pecans. All this to say I find Abita’s more pleasing. The maple syrup brings great body, which builds a robust mouthfeel and the nutty elements added by the pecans seem to balance and smooth out the bourbon bite. All this comes together in pleasant, well-balanced complexities. It still has a nice warming element without being overstated; makes it perfect for this time of year. Cheers!