Beer of the Weekend #814: Black Orchard

The beer of the weekend is Black Orchard, brewed by the Iowa City Brewlab of Iowa City, Iowa.

The color is opaque black. Though a very light skim and a thin ring around the edge develop, there is no head. I suspect it’s because the beer is served using nitro, so whatever sexy, cascading head that did develop was pushed out when the bottle was filled, or dissipated while the bottle sat in my fridge since I returned home. At least I assume that’s the reason. I could be wrong; perhaps the carbonation is way off. Anyway, the aroma is dominated by the barrel-aged characters of whiskey-stained wood, vanilla, smoked malt, and cherry. It is very deep and whiskey-like. It has a peat character, too. The flavor mostly mirrors the aroma with barrel-aged characters dominating. The whiskey and peat characters are most prominent and it is very woody. It has a nice bite and is maybe smoky. Perhaps the smoked malt I’m sensing is the whiskey-soaked wood throwing me off. It is also tart with flavors of vanilla and cherry, and becomes much fruitier as the beer warms. I’m not a barrel-aged fan so this is not my favorite stuff. I knew that when I got it, though. The mouthfeel is quite thin, so perhaps it was not served using nitro.

Fun facts about Black Orchard:

• Style: Barrel-aged black lager.

• Price: $8 for a 32-ounce growler fill at the Iowa City Brewlab. The bartender told me it was $2 off today.

• Alcohol content: 5.5 percent ABV.

• IBU: 18.

The Quiet Man’s grade: C+.

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