10/27/21: Warped Wing Brewing Company's Bourbon Barrel Aged Flying Heads (2019)

2:41 PM

Exactly two years ago today, drank a 2019 vintage of Warped Wing's BBA Flying Heads. That fresh bottle was frighteningly tasty. I faced down my fears and scored the thing a 10/10 before I finished up that post, lucky to escape with my life. 

On the same dark, dreary day that I purchased that bottle, I bought another one, vowing to keep it under lock and key in my cellar until the fateful evening when I would be summoned to loose it from its bindings and quench my incessant thirst with the dark elixer it contained.

For two years I had strength enough to refuse its dreadful call, creeping into my thoughts as I lay in bed awake in the wee hours of the night. No longer! When I opened my fridge today to pull out the next beer to which I'd turn my attention, that second bottle of BBA Flying Heads was there in the drawer. Involuntarily, I reached for it pulling it from the chill in which it'd been placed, and set to photographing it, a feeble attempt to document the moment I was in--perhaps the last one during in which I'd be the John we all know.

Warped Wing hails from Dayton, OH. Through their craft, they celebrate a lineage of scientists, inventors, and innovators that society surely once deemed mad. Those geniuses, wild though their ideas seemed, wrought with their hands works that have moved beyond laughing-stock fodder and into modern marvels of engineering: the power of flight, and the wing-warping theory and technology that enabled it. Thankfully, society views Warped Wing, "Downtown Dayton's Favorite Brewery," with a gaze of approval. 

The Flying Heads variant I'm compelled to imbibe today is but a ghost on Warped Wing's website. As such, I am forced to transcribe here the details printed on my bottle's label: This dubbel pumpkin ale was aged in bourbon barrels before it's bottling. Oozing with flavors of cinnamon, coriander, allspice, and pumpkin, the 9.4% ABV offering was inspired by the legendary Flying Heads told of by the Iroquois and Wyandot nations: terrible beings of disembodied heads, blazing eyes, and an appetite for human flesh.

Lying in wait within my bottle is a tantalizing bouquet of full bourbon barrel notes, namely oak, mild vanilla and toffee, and a smattering of alcohol heft and warmth. A return waft summons some chocolate and caramel malt, yes, but there, lurking in the very heart of the beast, is the pumpkin, earthy and gourdy. The spices foretold by those who created the ale are yet to be found.

I was unable to persuade Purrl to venture forth from the place of comfort, warmth, and contentment she found as I pulled this bottle from its chilly tomb so, behold! Henrietta the Horrid! With her ghastly sense of smell, she deemed my bottle worthy of twenty whiffs. A frightening vision such as herself would, of course, surely be drawn to the appeal of a beer such as this.

New depths of Flying Heads' terrors unfold as my first swig fully expands. Toffee is here found, imposing its will over the pumpkin and associated spices. Looming in the darkness beyond that scene is a plumminess that was absent from this bottle's twin I consumed years ago. The beer has spent its time in the quiet, darkness of my home developing into something that transcends its former self. Now, it has being a monster, nearly unwieldy in the boldness of its flavors. Yet, it is not unlike the darkness of the oncoming All Hallows' Eve in that there is an air of delight and mirth in the delicious oppressiveness of it all.

Two years have been enough to quell the carbonation in my bottle to but a shade of what it once was. However, I spy (when I am brave enough to peek) a finely laced head dwelling upon the ale within my bottle. There is a hefty fullness to this beer, it's weighty and infinitely befitting an ale such as the one BBA Flying Heads has become in its slumber.

Have you ever found yourself waking in the dim moonlight on Halloween? When there is a coldness upon the still night outside your window? You might shudder to yourself, as I so often do, and conjure visions in your mind of the terrors that run rampant in the night, when the veil thins to gossamer. Spectres may well wander the earth. Stingy Jack may yet roam the land in his dark eternity, only a candle placed within a craved turnip to keep him warm and light his wandering path. Flying heads seek ever for their next meal.

You might pull your blankets tight to your chin, and screw your eyes against the darkness, searching for happier thoughts and imaginings to steady your terrified mind. Should, then, the sensation provided by this well-aged Flying Heads come to you in that consuming darkness, in your hour of dearest need, keep it close.

Should you have a bottle of Warped Wing's 2019 Bourbon Barrel Aged Flying Heads in your cellar, I ask that you give into its call. For, at the moment, the most frightening aspect of the beer is how perfectly aged it has become. Should you hold to your waning will, I cannot guarantee that it will not continue to further develop, a process which may result in a more nefarious outcome. I am compelled, at the end of my time with the beer, to present it with another 10/10. May it now, at long last, be at peace.

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