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Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel 18

 

Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel 18

Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Houston, just North of Downtown

Oat Wine aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels

ABV: 12.8%

IBUs: 25

Packaging: Draft, Single 12oz Bottle

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To be honest, I’m not a liquor drinker, and I don’t particularly care for the flavors of spirits. When I was a kid, I drank more socially than for the actual enjoyment of the drink. (Bourbon) Whiskey was my go to, but as I’ve grown, I’ve gotten away from liquor. I prefer to drink sessionable beer. Sometimes I only buy these Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel beers because it’s the thing to do for somebody that runs a beer blog. Is that weak?

The art for Bishop’s Barrel 18 is the same as all those that came before it, minus the number 18. The bottle label has a tan background with dark brown art featuring the patron saint flanked by stalks of grain. All the art is done in a burnt style, as if it were branded into wood, as the art for so many Barrel aged (BA) beers are.

Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel 18 pours a silky, crystal clear reddish-brown. The color is dark, but when you view it through the light, it’s got a bold red tone. There’s a finger worth of light, airy, tawny head that melts down quickly into a tiny ring of bubbles around my Teku. It laces spottily down my glass like the knots and grain of a whiskey barrel.

The nose of Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel 18 showcases spicy toffee, caramel, oak wood from the barrels and of course some bold whiskey notes from the Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey Barrel.

Saint Arnold likens this BB18 to Grandma’s oatmeal cookies. My grandma never made those because she’s Belgian and she doesn’t bake, but I can definitely see the comparison. It starts off unassuming and smooth with super sweet caramel and molasses flavors followed by the alcohol heat and whiskey flavors that round out the finish. This is the second beer in the Bishop’s Barrel series that they’ve aged in WhistlePig barrels.

The carbonation is light, as is common with BA beers, but the mouthfeel is silky smooth and full-bodied from all the oats. If cloyingly sweet were measured from 1-10, this would clock in at a solid 4 for me. It’s super sweet, but not too much.

We always try and compare each beer we review with something else local, or anything craft for that matter, but beers that are this complex and layered are hard to compare. If anything, BB15 comes to mind, simply because it’s a Barley Wine, which is comparable to an Oat Wine. There’s not really an apples for apples comparison locally though.

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Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel 18 was available in bottles at HEBs, Specs, etc., but it was the kind of thing that was stored in the back. You have to find someone and ask for it. It was also on tap at a few spots. Saint Arnold has been known to hold on to quite a bit of their B.B. and DR series beers for events, so keep your eyes peeled if you didn’t get any when it released.

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Tony D
tony.d@beerchronicle.com

Tony's an artist that loves craft brew almost as much as he does Houston. He's worked in the oil industry and owns a few small businesses. Tony isn't picky when it comes to beer types, as long as it's refreshing and sessionable.

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