With its big complex flavors and big alcohol content (9.7% ABV), this beer is not for the faint of heart.
I have been looking for an Old Ale to try and this was my first of the style. I would describe this one as something close to a cross between a Barleywine and a Belgian Dubbel/Trippel. The aroma is sweet: it smelled like a spice cake with raisins to me, but I also got a little buttery scent and a little floral from the hops too. The flavor was very similar to the aroma: very sweet, malty, carmel and a very tiny floral hop kick at the end. A lot of times a high alcohol content beer will be described as having a “Merlot” taste to it. I expected that flavor in this beer but was pleasantly surprised to not find it. The alcohol is definitely present and you can taste it, but it is masked a little by the sweetness and the hops. The specific beer that I drank still seemed a little young and sharp – it would probably mellow out a bit more after sitting for a few more months or a year.
One of the questions in the Beer Advocate reviews of the beer asked if an Old Ale with as much hops as the Triple Exultation should still be considered an Old Ale, so apparently this beer is not a pure example of the style. However, it is a good sipping beer and you’ll enjoy it if you’re looking for something different. But unfortunately (or not!) I’ll have to continue my search for another Old Ale or two to try.
Eel River Brewing (Fortuna, CA) says that it is the first USDA Certified Organic brewery. And the Triple Exultation is a Certified Organic beer. That neither makes the beer any more or less enticing for me, but that’s cool if you’re into those things.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Review Submitted By: Dan Hounshell