Coney Island Barrel Aged Human Blockhead (2012 edition)
Experienced beer nerds probably have tried imperial bocks at some point,
but why aren’t these beers barrel aged? Well now they are, and Coney
Island Barrel Aged Human Blockhead is an excellent example of how great a
barrel aged lager can be. A beer so good it could single-handedly
change the industry.
Appearance: Gorgeous burgundy/cherry red hue with a touch of orange.
Forms a surprisingly large, yellowish, frothy head that retains and
laces extremely well.
Smell: Almost too many notes to list, but basically a massive sweetness complemented by distinct alcohol presence.
Taste: Though technically a doppelbock, Coney Island Barrel Aged Human
Blockhead drinks like a strong English-style barleywine in more ways
than one. It has absolutely no qualities to it that you would find in
most beers of the sort. Clearly, the bourbon barrels have had a massive
affect on the palate here. Much like rare imperial stouts that use the
method - the end result is absolutely delicious. To call it a "malt
bomb" would be an understatement. This beer almost drinks like a higher
end liqueur or spirit.
As soon as it hits the tongue the palate is enveloped in a melange of
rich fruit flavors and confectionery sweetness. Cherry, vanilla,
caramel, toffee, and butterscotch are all prominent - each individually
distinguishable and they all work perfectly with each other. There’s
little to no bitterness, though the alcohol is a major player as it
imparts flavors of spiced rum and vanilla extract, plus its natural
warmth (which is a bonus - not a distraction). I know some people will
find this too intense "fresh," and while I’m sure it’ll age gracefully, I
think it’s fantastic right off the shelf. Though it carries a high
price tag, it’s still a good deal.
Drinkability: If I had to find a flaw with Coney Island Barrel Aged
Human Blockhead it would be the fact it’s an absolute sipper. This isn’t
surprising consider it’s a hefty brew at 10.83% ABV, though I’d
attribute the low drinkability more to the robustness of the palate
rather than the alcohol (which has a gentle, but firm, warmth rather
than a raw burn). The mouthfeel itself is soft and comfortable. It’s a
noticeably thick brew for sure, leaving a slightly bitter/slightly
syrupy aftertaste, but it goes down remarkably smooth. Be sure to split a
bottle with someone who deserves it on a special occasion.