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Beer Review: Terrapin Beer Co., Phlux Capacitor (Side Project 16)

May 19, 2012

Ding Points: 80.00

Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00

Tasting Notes:

Here we go with Side Project 16, Phlux Capacitor.

Label says ‘Oak Aged, American Ale’ and declares 9.8%, so I suppose I should be expecting something like an Oaked Arrogant Bastard. Not exactly my favorite beer, but we’ll see how it shakes down.

Chestnut brown pour with a two finger head but with better retention and lace than one might expect for a beer that is close to 10% ABV.

Terrapin, Phlux Capacitor

Terrapin, Phlux Capacitor

Nose and tastes are true to the style, with a dry, hop forward, bitter element followed by a (repeated) dry finish and an ‘in-your-face’, American presence throughout the beer. For me the actual oak character is pretty light, and really we have an beer that sits somewhere between a lighter American Barleywine, and an American Strong Ale. Sure it’s aggressive (acceptable and expected), but the mouthfeel is surprisingly light and drinkable.

Some grapefruit, fruity elements sit underneath the initial assault, and although the beer is big and bold, it surprisingly never feels especially bitter. Maybe the oak has evened things out a bit, but if it has, it does not manifest any specific, oak character. Strange.

Beers of this genre can threaten and tire the palate very quickly, but this manages to skate around the edges quite well and doesn’t come on as strong as one might expect. In the back end and finish there is a little, spicy, pepper element which bites a bit, but not really too aggressively.

Terrapin, Phlux Capacitor

Terrapin, Phlux Capacitor

For the style, ABV and the expectations, this is a relatively humble, simple and drinkable beer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no picnic, but compared to some similar beers it holds back some. For me that’s a good thing, the American geek palate may be disappointed. This beer is large without being noisy –  a pretty unusual combo around these parts.

As it warms there is more alcohol that comes with a gentle burn in the chest – this is of course, exactly as it should be for a beer of this style.

Terrapin, Phlux Capacitor

Terrapin, Phlux Capacitor

All in all, better than I was anticipating and the second Terrapin beer in succession that has made me feel better about their (previously) falling star – maybe they are getting some Mojo back!

Terrapin Phlux Capacitor Label (SP 16)

Terrapin Phlux Capacitor Label (SP 16)

Other: 9.8%, American Strong Ale.


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