12/24/21: Braxton Labs' Bourbon Barrel Aged Kringle (2018)

4:07 PM

Merry Christmas Eve! You might remember three years back when I drank a fresh bottle of Braxton Labs'  Bourbon Barrel Aged Kringle. I adored the beer. What I didn't mention on the blog is that I bought two bottles when it dropped, keeping one safely squirreled away in my cellar for some fateful Christmas season when the time was right for me to break into it.

As fate would have it, that fateful Christmas season is this year. Let's see how Kringle's drinking now, with a little age on it.

Braxton Labs is the Braxton's experimental location. Housed in the back of Bellevue, KY's The Party Source, Braxton Labs is a small brewing operation and taproom. Here, they try their hands crafting beers of all different styles and flavors, with a wide range of adjuncts, while featuring guest taps from regional breweries.

BBA Kringle (its an Untappd link) is one of those experimental brews. This 13.8% ABV Belgian quad spent a year resting in OKI, New Riff, and Willett barrels before being bottled. The ale promises notes of candied sugar, fruit, and vanilla with an oaky finish.

A waft from my glass greets me with molasses cookies, gingersnaps, vanilla, oak, plums, figs, sugar cookies, and some slight licorice. All of this is wrapped in a warm, boozy blanket--three years worth of aging didn't do much to mellow the booze here. Purrl, who's been pretty indifferent to many beers lately, gave my bottle (before I poured it) twelve whiffs. She's as taken with the bouquet as I am.

The flavor profile's candied pecans, Snickerdoodles, the dark fruit from the nose (with raisin added), and the same vanilla and oak I expected given my last brush with the beer. There's some clove and cherry here, too, before the finish--a product of the whole Belgian thing. Then, in the finish, I find a warmth that spreads throughout my core, coupled with some licorice and deep, dark caramel.

Before getting to the mouthfeel, let's touch on the appearance: The beer looks like iced coffee in the glass, with a khaki-colored, intricately laced head. 

BBA Kringle is a robust beer, full and almost syrupy after three years of aging.

The first time I had this beer, I waxed poetic on how my folks would use their Christmas tree as their primary lightsource on dark December nights. It's something that's been instilled in me. Right now, on this temperate Christmas Eve, my own Christmas tree is strung with lights, pushing the darkness from out of my living room and bringing a bright festiveness to our home.

Braxton Labs' BBA Kringle has definitely developed in its last three years. It's a more substantial beer now, absolutely, and still worthy of the 10/10 I gave it when it was fresh. This is different now, years later, but it's still a fantastic holiday experience.

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