1/17/22: Whiner Beer Company's Fur Letter Word

11:11 AM

Today's beer--the blog's first of the 2022--is one I've had in my posession for a little over three years. It was a Christmas gift back in 2019 (you, know, pre-pandemic) and came from either my dad (I think he's the culprit) or my brother. It was a beer I'd never heard of from a brewery I've only encountered once.

I hadn't meant to age it for three years (seeing as how it was nearly one when it was gifted to me). Nor had I meant to put off this month's initial post for this long (I've had two Covid scares already this calendar year--blowing my record of zero out of the water). Yet, here we are, beginning to forge ahead. Today I'm drinking Whiner's Fur Letter Word. 

The writeup on Whiner's website describing the brewery is short and sweet: Hailing from Chicago, the brewery focuses on Belgian-inspired brewing, employing bacteria and alternative yeast in their fermenting process.

Fur Letter Word's a bourbon barrel-aged Belgian-style dark ale with coffee. Featuring sour hints, the ale boasts notes of coffee, dark fruits, vanilla, and caramel. After being brewed, Fur Letter Word spent eight months soaking up Four Letter Word Coffee and resting in barrels from 45th Parallel Distillery. The result of all of this is housed securely in my bottle. I'll note that Whiner's online description lists the ale as 6.8% ABV, while the label on my bottle claims it's 7.5%.

A waft from my bottle (we're not doing this up in a glass today) begets dark, fruity coffee aromatics--plum, orange, and some earth. There's also a distinct heartiness to the bouquet here: baker's chocolate, some caramel, vanilla, and a touch of oak. There's no bourbon or general warm booziness present. Maybe that's why Purrl likes it so much--she gave the bottle thirteen whiffs.

The sourness of the ale hits me first in my initial swig. Lurking just below it is an incredibly dry quality. It's here I find the remnants of coffee, chocolate, and caramel. There's a touch of bourbon barrel in the short finish, all oak and vanilla, and booze (not a bitey booze, mind you--more of a subtle warmth). I'm also finding some fudginess kicking around in the finish's tailend. EDIT: As the ale's warming I'm finding a subtle nuttiness--hazelnut and almond.

Really, if I had to tell you an exact thing Fur Letter Word tastes like it'd be a black, waking glass of cold brew.

This dark ale features a smooth mouthfeel, one that's on the thinner side of what you might expect from an ale. This is all too befitting that cold brew-ness I mentioned above.

I made cold brew once. Sure, it was for a cider I was brewing (which turned out great, by the way), but the process was so simple I always meant to revisit it. Just put some coffee grounds in cheesecloth, tie the cloth into a shut bag, and soak in a pitcher of water in the fridge for a few days. Easy and delicious. Maybe I'll get into the habit of brewing it regularly before the summer heat sets in this year.

I honestly didn't know what to expect from Whiner Beer Company's Fur Letter Word. What I found was a beer that's just what's called for by this snowy day. Flavorful coffee, subtly warm bourbon, and little heft. This is definitely an ale befitting a 9.0/10. Here's hoping Whiner decides to bring it out of retirement.

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