Crazy Mountain Brewing Company - Local’s Stash Reserve Series: Gin Barrel Aged Juniper India Pale Ale
Serving Temperature:48–55° F
Suggested Glassware:Small Nonic, Tulip, Snifter, or Pinot Glass
We’ve been loving the few gin-barrel influenced beers we’ve been crossing paths with, such as Gigantic Brewing Co.’s Pipewrench from Portland, Oregon—a bright + juniper-forward IPA that’s spent just enough time in gin barrels. Crazy Mountain’s Gin Barrel Aged Juniper India Pale Ale amplifies pretty much everything we recall from that Pipewrench experience: with generous botanicals, engaging pine and tropical hop qualities, and potent gin-barreling.
In fact, while the bitterness levels here are just on the cusp of double-IPA territory, the 8.3% ABV and the subtle warming influences of the barrel (this could have picked up a reasonable amount of alcohol from the barrel itself) make this definitely feel like an imperial something or other. The residual bitterness here is still quite close to tongue-numbing, given a few sips, and its feel and intensity is certainly beyond what we’d expect from a normal gin-barrel IPA, if we can use the word ‘normal’ in this sense. It makes us wish for an imperial version of the Gigantic Pipewrench, as this ratcheted up everything that we loved about that experience to a whole different level. Delicious barrel qualities, and this could easily be a gin-barrel DIPA.
In any event, it’s delicious. Our bottles of this didn’t open with a huge pop, and the relaxed carbonation is perfect for not overdoing the body. This pours deep golden-orange with just a modest layering of off-white foam on top, and there’s a hint of added viscosity here. It’s a big, slightly hazed hop- and juniper-delivery device with a hint of wooden tones in its color.
The aromatics deliver a potent combination of juniper-led botanicals plus orange-centered hops, with layers of pine and touches of warming, vinous alcohol underneath. As this gets warmed up a bit from fridge temperature, more of that nuance from the barrel time begins to appear: the vanilla toastiness of oak tannins, hints of barrel char... As noted, the bubbles are just the right level for this beer, adding a subtle vibrancy along the edges without adding too much fizziness in the mid-section. That sturdy framework of hops shapes everything in this beer—intense pine, pithy citrus, plus more tropical notes on the periphery—while those juniper and herbaceous elements match seamlessly beside them. This is a beautiful, generous beer from Crazy Mountain—an intense hop bomb, perfectly accented by its gin and juniper.
While potent enough to survive some cellar time, this hop-forward beer is definitely best on the fresher side, and we encourage Rare Beer Club members to enjoy bottles early on. Here, herbaceous and fruity hop qualities lead—we’d enjoy this one with roasted lamb or chicken.
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