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Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel 18 by Nick B

 

Bishop’s Barrel 18

Saint Arnold Brewing Co.

Houston

Oat Wine Ale aged in WhistlePig Rye Whiskey Barrels

ABV: 12.8%

IBUs: 25

Packaging: Draft, 12oz. Bottles

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Two things I have learned over the years drinking craft beer are these: 1) There is something for everyone. Literally, there are so many different styles and variations out there that anybody can find something if they are pointed in the right direction; and, 2) limited release beers are either highly sought after by everyone, including people who have no idea what they’re buying, or they’re viewed as overpriced beers for snobs.

I, myself, nab Bishop’s Barrel each time it comes out because I like to see how they age, but really, Saint Arnold does some great things with their Bishop’s Barrel series. While it might seem like something that’s reserved for beer snobs, they create some great flavored beers that just might make you say, “I didn’t know beer could taste like that!”

So here I am to give you my take on Bishop’s Barrel 18, their oat wine style ale aged in WhistlePig rye whiskey barrels for nearly a year.

Even though Saint Arnold got a swanky labeling makeover last year, they kept their Bishop’s Barrel labels unchanged with the old label on the front in a parchment color, the series number on the neck wrapping, and information on the back label.

Bishop’s Barrel 18 pours an opaque, ruby brown color with a thin line of off-white head. There are aromas of oatmeal, molasses, and raisin. Some of the earthy tones from the rye barrels sneak their way in as well, but they’re very subtle. It’s a lovely bouquet of smells. I was personally stoked to dive into it!

Bishop’s Barrel 18 has a medium body with flavors that really pronounce themselves at room temperature. The earthy spiced/peppery flavors are most prominent from the rye barrel, but raisin and sweet, dark fruits cut through the noise of the barrel. Towards the end, those flavors give way to bread and oats.

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I’m giving Bishop’s Barrel 18 five stars because the barrel flavors don’t overpower the base beer’s flavors and there’s great complexity in this brew. Saint Arnold doesn’t always knock it out of the park in this series, but they did this time!

You can probably still find Bishop’s Barrel 18 in restaurants or bars. Use TapHunter or Untappd to get a heads up on where to find it or sign up for the Saint Arnold newsletter. So are you one of those people like me that collects this series, or do beers like this just intrigue you? Beers to you, Houston. 🍻

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Nick B
nick.b@beerchronicle.com

Nick is originally from the Corpus Christi area, but found himself in Houston as of 4 years ago. You can spot him wearing a Hooks hat and drinking a glass of craft beer around the city. He typically prefers his beers to mirror his taste in music: complex, heavy, and dark.

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