A month or so ago the guys at Beau’s were kind enough to send me a bottle of their brand new Vrienden, as well as their Screaming Beaver Oak Aged Angry IPA. The Screaming Beaver is the third installment in Beau’s Wild Oats series of beers; all one off organic beers brewed with no regard for convention, and plenty of imagination. This one is an Oak Aged Double IPA – a beefed up version of their spring seasonal, the Beaver River I.P.Eh.
The Screaming beaver was dry hopped and oak aged, comes in at 8% abv, 60 IBUs, and when available was in a 750ml ceramic bottle. This version is no longer around, but I expect another Double IPA will find its way into Beau’s experimental lineup of beers at some point. Double IPA’s, or any hop-focused beers are really picking up steam right now, and in Canada we are just starting to catch up to the hoppy beer revolution that was spread throughout the United States. Lets see how Ontario will fair.
I opened the heavy ceramic bottle at the upper range of cool around 12C (54F) and poured it into a tulip glass. The pour was smooth and slightly oily building a glowing amber brown beer with huge amounts of copper orange and big reds brimming through every inch. A nice frothy and pillowy head build an inch and a touch on top of the beer with a slightly off white color and very precise carbonation showing up everywhere.
The nose was crisp and sharp with a big initial aroma of aggressive hops. Fruity, citrus, gently tart and slightly floral hops pour in with hints of grapefruit and pine, but then an easily noticeable alcohol scent. Malts come through the back in the way of light caramel, brown sugar, grains, biscuit and herbs. The overall sensation here is dry and clean. Notes of apricot and wood come through at the end, but it is tough to hypothesize what this beer is going to become.
Allowing a large flow of the Screaming Beaver into my palate brought a cool and tartly crisp wave of hop sensations and touches of sharp alcohol. Citrus peels and earthy bitterness comes out strong right away on your tongue, and really builds in bitter sensations as it curls off your tongue and onto your cheeks. The malts are there hidden in behind the power of the bitter, and they do show creamy and slightly oily caramel and biscuit flavors. Hints of sweet toffee and burnt brown sugar fade in as well.
The booze sensation comes back and brings grapefruit and hints of pine along with it. This overall bitterness is more of a sensation to me than a flavor. It actually was beginning to become to much so. The quenching capabilities of the beer are fantastic, but its just very sharp on the palate and lacks the aromatic powers that a Double IPA could have.
Its as if you feel the bitter and don’t taste it. Its not really a fair judgement of the beer, cause I was really enjoying it. The mouthfeel was sublime and it was a unique and very distinct flavor that we have never seen in Canada. The 60 IBUs seems like it may be an underestimate because it feels like its higher, or perhaps it was just my bottle.
I would like to see a greater aromatic character from this beer and richer oak flavors. The oak come in a bit right in the heart of this beer, but it was hidden in the bitter hops. I’m not sure if the beer was dry hopped then oak aged, or dry hopped while oak aged, but I feel like the oak muted the freshness of the hops and mulled them into this very rich bitter sensation which lasted in my plate for a good half hour later.
Overall though a fun beer to enjoy with a friend, and it cut through the green curry I was eating with no problem at all. I am excited to see what Beau’s does next; I know if will be eually interesting.