As you know, I’m a big fan of Calusa. They do a lot with their brown ale program, including barrel aging Dissonance, an Imperial Breakfast Brown Ale treated with whole-bean coffee and cinnamon aged in oak bourbon barrels. So, when I heard they had released a new barrel aged brown, I was intrigued to check it out.
Fathoms Below (one of the coolest beers names ever!), is an Imperial Brown Ale aged 18 months in Bourbon Barrels with coffee and hazelnuts. It checks in at a heavy 11.5% ABV and pours black with a thin tan head that gradually fades to a slight tan ring around the outside of the glass. Aroma is savory with tons of hazelnut and a hint of barrel sweetness. Swirling the beer in the Teku reinvigorates the tan head momentarily.
This beer is a medium to full-bodied (I want to say stout) brown ale. As expected, there’s a lot of hazelnut on the tongue as well. However, for a beer that rested 18 months in bourbon barrels, the sweetness of the barrel perfectly compliments this beer. The barrel isn’t overly done, which is nice. There’s a bit of coffee on the back end and a touch of coconut and vanilla. I’d like to see the coconut be more prevalent but this beer hits the spot. It’s sweet and savory all at once, which is a nice touch.
As it warms, the hazelnut is even more prevalent. The coffee bitterness lingers a bit longer on the tongue as well, which is nice. The thing is, this beer drinks like a stout. But let’s be honest, all of the Imperial Brown Ales that I’ve had from Calusa are very stout-like. Don’t get me wrong, their stouts are fantastic as well, but it’s just uncommon to see an 11.5% Brown Ale. Or a 13% Brown Ale, for that matter.
Once again, this shows just how Calusa is able to think outside the box. A lot of other breweries in the area get way more recognition for their dark beers, but in my opinion (which doesn’t mean a thing!), Calusa is just as good, if not better. And did I mention that artwork on this beautiful bottle? So good! Cheers!
- ABV: 11.5%
- IBU: n/a
- Untappd Rating: 4.41
- # of Ratings: 107