This years batch of Driftwood Singularity has now come and gone. At least at most shops. Driftwood Singularity is a Kentucky bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout which won a silver medal for Barrel aged Strong Beer in the 2011 Canadian Brewing Awards. Did this beast of a beer live up to the hype from last year? or was that a singularity itself?
First a random picture of a black hole:
The bottle is a fresh 2012 release (don’t worry I bought two bottles, one to cellar for a few months or years to compare). It pours thick, pitch black, and even with the low carbonation there is fair size foamy brown head which doesn’t last, dissipating quickly, but leaving a thick heavy lacing. As soon as I started to pour this beer the aroma jumps out at you. Even after a few minutes the aroma is still very strong. Warm Bourbon alcohol scent upfront, with a nice mix of toasted vanilla, roasted malts.
The first sip is full of flavours. The most noticeable is the booziness, which I’m sure will mellow down with age. After my palate is adjusted to the booze, more flavours come forward milk chocolate and coffee mixed with roasted malts and a light toasted vanilla, and finishes with a warm bourbon alcohol notes. About half way through this beer has a slight bitterness but mostly sweet alcohol and a bit sticky-slimy on the palate. Definitely notice a good buzz near the bottom of the glass which is expected for a 11.8%
Overall I enjoyed this beer but feel that the beer and the barrel flavours could have come together and complimented each other a bit better, but then again it is possible that the beer just needs a bit of age to bring things together. I would recommend grabbing a bottle find a nice hiding place then forget about it for a few months before drinking. Maybe save it till there is snow on the ground again and enjoy sitting in front of a nice warm fire.
This beer has a full bold complex’s flavour but as a rather young bottle I can only assume that something this good could only get greater with age.
At first whiff I smell dark molasses and black licorice. It pours nicely with a thick creamy brown head. The brew itself is as black as the ichor that formed Crud Puppy. My first sip is really boozy. Like a black licorice flavored mouthwash. The black licorice flavor itself isn’t too strong. For a frame of reference, it’s more than say, Howe Sounds Pothole Filler, but considerably less than their Megadestroyer, which is another monster of a beer that’s out now and worthy of seeking and slaying.
There’s a lot going on in the Singularity, but most noticeable to me were the chocolate in the malt and burnt oak flavors from the bourbon barrel aging. I being a beer guy, had no idea what bourbon was, so I googled it. Here I’ll save you the trouble:
The key points are that bourbon is corn whiskey, barrel aged in charred oak barrels. That burnt oak flavor comes through in the Singularity and I also noticed a fruity/berry flavor which I think comes from the sweetness of the corn whiskey. The Singularity aftertaste is a little bitter and salty.
Overall, was the beer worth the hype? YES! But if you’re planning to do any further tastings after the Singularity, make sure you cleanse your palate first.