The Puzzler Belgian Black IPA was released from Phillips Brewing Company some time ago. In the 2014 Snowcase Craft Beer Advent Calendar though Phillips included a Barrel Aged variety of the favourite BC beer. Shortly thereafter the Barrel Aged Puzzler was released as a seasonal offering in 650ml bottles. This beer is similar to the original release but features one very big difference. The Barrel Aged version of the Puzzler appears a deep and dark, near black colour and is topped with three fingers of thick, dense and heavily lacing head. The smell of this pungent beer is heavy with bourbon and oak nearly masking any IPA or chocolate tones that were apparent in the standard version of this beer. The beer is reasonably light bodied with a dark, hopped profile hitting the tongue early on. Shortly thereafter the barrel aged, bourbon tones build into a big bodies beer. As the finish approaches a hopped, boozy and oaky flavour leave the palate in a slight state of distress. IPAs are not typically barrel aged but in this case the big nature of the Puzzler works rather well. The Bourbon tones do overpower much of the IPA flavour but the result is still a big and warming winter beer that you may just enjoy.
Alcohol – 7.3%
Size – 650ml (Also available in 2014 Snowcase)
Price – $7.80 (Craft Retailer)