Hangar 24 Craft Brewing - Bravo Zulu – 2017 Vintage
- ABV: 10.9%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 52° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Chalis, or Tulip Glass
To close this extra-special offer of limited-release vintage bottlings from Hangar 24 Craft Brewing, we have the 2017 Bravo Zulu, a Baltic-style Porter aged for eight months in bourbon and brandy barrels. Baltic Porter is a beer style that originated in 18th century England, but became widely popular in the Baltic regions of Europe after Napoleon cut off porter exports in 1806. Local brewers in these regions substituted the ale yeast used to make porter with bottom-fermenting lager yeast, which is more suitable for cold weather. This substitution gave rise to the Baltic Porter, a cold-fermented and lagered beer with a smoother mouthfeel and higher alcohol content than English Porter.
The 2017 Bravo Zulu pours a deep opaque brown to black with just a hint of deep garnet at the rim. There’s a good amount of pale tan head initially, slowly heading towards the rim as it dissipates. A bit of tan lacing is left behind, but we noticed some wine-like tears forming closer to the top of the glass after each sip. The aromas expressed are of dark roasted malts, dark fruit, and ample bourbon and brandy barrels. Prominent too are aromas of mocha, dark caramel, and dark coffee. Upon further inspection, dark toffee comes through and brings with it toasty oak, lightly charred vanilla bean, and roasted nuts. As the beer warms slightly we pick up on notes of star anise, black pepper, and dark earth.
The first sip of the 2017 is smooth and round, with a velvety texture.
The label on the 2017 Bravo Zulu states, “The naval signal, Bravo Zulu, is used to communicate recognition of a job well done.” We couldn’t agree more. On the palate, all the aromas came to life as flavors with the bourbon and brandy barrels exhibiting toasty oak and vanilla flavors supporting the slightly sweet malty backbone. The dark roasted malt provided rich and robust flavors of caramel, dark toffee, and molasses, with hints of mocha and dark roast coffee. Every sip is warm and inviting, with dark fruit coming in mid-palate and lasting through the finish. A faint roasted nut flavor lingers and brings with it a hint of smoke and a moderate amount of bitterness which adds a nice balance to the overall experience. The 2017 Bravo Zulu is full bodied with a smooth and creamy mousse leading into a long, layered finish.
If you choose to age the 2017 Bravo Zulu further than it already has been, you can do so with confidence for the next two to three years. For pairings, try it with Baltic fare consisting of vederai sausages, smoked paltuss (halibut), and pirukas. For dessert, kohuke and tinginys should pair nicely as well.
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