10/27/19: Warped Wing Brewing Company's Bourbon Barrel Aged Flying Heads

1:38 PM

It's the week of Halloween! This means, very unfortunately, that Spooky Finger Puppet Ghost Month 2019 is on its lonely way to the gallows. But, fear! October 2020 will be here before we know it, gnashing its teeth and ready to avenge its horrible comrade.


Before this year's legs stop kicking, however, there are still two beers to get through. Today's is one that I wasn't expecting to include when I first started gathering brews for the blowout. But, luck was on my side and my local bottleshop got a few bottles in. Today's pumpkiny, Halloweeny beer is Warped Wing's Bourbon Barrel Aged Flying Heads.

Dayton, OH's Warped Wing is a brewery that's devoted to carrying forward the area's spirit of invention and innovation. Their name pays homage to a Wright brothers invention that allowed the pair to achieve flight. Like how Orville and Wilbur followed their passion by embracing their imagination, so too does Warped Wing.

BBA Flying Heads doesn't have an official page on WW's website, but that's okay. Untappd is here with the assist. This 9.4% ABV bourbon barrel-aged dubbel pumpkin ale is named after undead monsters from Iroquois and Wyandot folklore. The beer has notes of coriander, allspice, cinnamon, and, of course, pumpkin. I'm also anticipating some bourbon booziness here, as well.

There's a heavy amount of bourbon on the BBA's Flying Heads' nose. This should surprise no one. It mingles with the deeper notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, and definite vanilla. All of these elements come together to give the beer full and well-rounded bouquet. This ale has the most welcoming aromatics I've encountered all season. Purrl, who gave my bottle twenty-two whiffs, absolutely agrees with me on that sentiment. 


This Flying Heads variant (there's also a rum barrel-aged one out there, somewhere in the darkness of these late-October nights) packs a wallop in its flavor profile. The bourbon is big and omnipresent. The pumpkin and its spices are here, too, and they run concurrently to the bourbon-barrel notes. These two parts don't quite mix like might be expected, but the nothing space where they don't mingle is special. My mind's filling that blankness with a citrusy, toffee/caramel flavor. It's odd and not quite wholly explainable, but, man, I love it. The ale also has that boozy warmth I want in a bourbon barrel-aged beer, which would doubtlessly help fortify you against those foggy and moonless Halloweentime nights.

This is an ale with the mouthfeel of a hearty porter. Full and heavy, Flying Heads feels exactly how it should.

When I was a teenager, Joseph Delaney's The Last Apprentice series was released. While this was a good time before I was able to handle scary stuff, something about the cover of the first book, Revenge of the Witch, called to me. When I happened upon it in a bookstore, I knew I'd be taking  it home.

I read a chapter or two before bed each night that October. The woodcut illustrations were fascinating and terrifying. There's a part in the story where the main character is fleeing from a dead witch, attempting to find a cross a river to keep the witch from finding and, subsequently, killing him. During that part (the spookiest in the book) the wind was howling and battering my bedroom windows. It was eleven o'clock at night. It took awhile for me to fall asleep after that.

Warped Wings' BBA Flying Heads is the current reigning champion of this year's Halloween blowout. The brewery's barrel-aged offerings are all top notch, and this is no exception. I'm giving my bottle a 10/10. Find it, buy it, and drink it, if you dare.

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