Grand Teton Brewing Company - Bourbon Barrel Aged Double Vision
- ABV: 10%
- Serving Temperature: 50–57° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip or Pinot Glass
This one’s a Rare Beer Club exclusive, specially allocated for our members. Aside from RBC members, the only other distribution point for this beer will be a very small number of cases sold through the Grand Teton tasting room. This is one of the finest beers we’ve sampled in the Grand Teton lineup: a wonderful expression of fruit and caramel and dense dark fruits.
We’ve long been fans of Grand Teton’s Double Vision, the base beer for this release. It’s an incredibly well developed American doppelbock that combines the top-quality local water of Victor, Idaho with a deep range of base and specialty malts (Idaho 2-Row Pale, plus German Munich, Carafa, CaraAroma and CaraMunich), American Liberty hops (based on Germany’s noble Hallertau Mittelfrüh variety) and, last but not least!, lager yeast via a brewery housed in a Munich monastery. It’s fermented cold at 48° F, then lagered for a generous 10 weeks. The lagering time smooths everything out, resulting in all the endearing parts of Double Vision: a glorious range of malts, from caramel to chocolate to subtle roast to touches of dark coffee.
With this barrel-aged version’s extended time inside of bourbon barrels (usually Heaven Hill, as we understand it), it’s actually picked up a huge amount of additional fruitines and round, plush sherry notes. There’s the subtle influences of oxidation from the barrel time, and all of the bold red fruits and bourbon-like whisps and toasty oak, of course, fold perfectly into the creamy, caramel-centered baseline of Double Vision doppelbock, keeping everything sturdy.
Grand Teton’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Double Vision pours the color of super-dense cola: all chocolate and deep-dark brown. This beer’s too burly to allow for anything more than a hint of foam to rise up—reminiscent of a number of our favorite imperial stouts. (It’s a big beer!)
At least big numerically. The aromatics are incredibly welcoming and spacious—focusing on smooth caramel and roast, and ripe red fruits, notably avoiding any sort of alcoholic burn or bourbon ferocity. This is just smooth: flecked with chocolate, vanilla, almonds, and pepper.
Overall it feels plush: fluffy, lighthearted, incredibly dense with caramel, dried dark fruits and honey, and other delicous stuff. At every turn, it shows as soft, plushly textured: a beautifully arranged showing of all the complex character inside. Its bourbon note hints at a bit of char and alcohol warmth, but more than anything we find light vanilla, toasty oak, leather, toffee...
The barrel time has done wonders for a beer we already found impressive. The time that the folks at Grand Teton allocated inside of bourbon barrels has pulled together some delicious and vast-reaching elements in this barrel-aged version. We’re grateful to be able to offer it as one of our Rare Beer Club exclusives—it’s the tastiest Grand Teton release we’ve ever tried.
The potent ABV and overall sturdiness of this one suggest that it should be able to age just fine, though watch that the sherry-like, oxidized notes don’t start to detract from this beer’s other features. For pairing options, the red fruit + caramel + char keeps us thinking pork.
In the mid 1980s, two brothers from Wyoming stepped forth to brew and sell beer in ways not seen in that state since Prohibition. Charlie and Ernie Otto, brothers of German-Austrian descent, had long been familiar with great beers. Charlie had become a well-respected area homebrewer, with friends and family constantly asking him to brew more beer (perhaps some of you homebrewers out there know the feeling?). Of course, the pleas for his brew soon spread beyond familial lines as locals caught wind of his fine handcrafted ales. This naturally got the brothers thinking about starting their own commercial enterprise. But, because Wyoming did not issue licenses to homebrewers, Charlie had to muscle up and take on the law. Through an ambitious effort, he eventually helped get a bill passed which would allow him to start selling his beer commercially. In 1988, he was awarded Wyoming brewery license no. 1.
In 1988, the Otto Brothers’ Brewing Company, officially the first modern microbrewery in the state of Wyoming, opened for business and soon released their original “Teton Ale.” Three years later, they opened the state’s first brewpub after a long campaign of lobbying the state government to allow breweries to sell beer direct to consumers. As demand grew, the brothers broke ground for a new, high-capacity brewery at the base of the Teton Pass in Victor, Idaho in 1998. The site was chosen for its proximity to locally-grown barleys and Northwestern hops, as well as nearby Teton Glacier water. In the Fall of 2000 the company was officially renamed the Grand Teton Brewing Company in order to portray a more regional and recognizable character, while still retaining their proud history and tradition of beer-brewing in the area.
In 2009, Charlie sold the brewery to Steve and Ellen Furbacher, who have ushered in a new era. The couple has upgraded, added to, and repaired much of the brewery’s equipment, and is working on additional warehouse and fermentation capacity. The brewery is well set up for growth, and we’re excited to see where they head next. (Their hugely limited Bourbon Barrel Aged Double Vision is one of the most delicious, smoothest beers we’ve had in a while.)
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