Hangar 24 Craft Brewing - Pugachev’s Cobra – 2017 Vintage
Serving Temperature:54° F
Suggested Glassware:Globe Snifter, Stemless Teku Glass, or Tulip Glass
We’ve put together a selection of four incredible vintage releases from Hangar 24 Craft Brewing’s Barrel Roll Series for this special offer—a decadent group of share-worthy beers for our Rare Beer Club members which were all aged for several months in barrels from Heaven Hill prior to bottling and further maturation. The brewer’s experience and the quality he puts forth in craft beer making is highly evident in all of the beers we sampled. These beers were available in very limited quantities when produced and are in even shorter supply now, with literally a handful of cases remaining. We were lucky to get our hands on just a few cases of each and encourage our Rare Beer Club members to stock up on as many as possible before they’re all gone. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
To start it off, we’ll focus on Hangar 24’s 2017 Pugachev’s Cobra, named after Soviet test pilot Viktor Pugachev, who displayed his now famous “Pugachev’s Cobra” aeronautical maneuver for the first time in public at the 1989 Paris Air Show. It is a Russian Imperial Stout brewed with maple syrup and aged eight months in freshly emptied bourbon barrels. As the bottle says, this is no ordinary beer, as it blends three different dark roasted malts and rich maple syrup in a unique brewing process to create complexity and depth.
The 2017 Pugachev’s Cobra pours a deep, opaque brown to black, with a receding tan head, but leaves a thin perimeter along the sides of our glasses. We found deep roasted aromas throughout: French roast coffee, dark cocoa, deep vanilla, dark molasses, dark caramel, chocolate mousse, toasty and charred barrel notes, rich maple syrup, dense dried fruits and dark berry aromas, with rich roasted malts. The bourbon aromas gave another layer of depth and complexity which brought forward slightly sweet pastry notes to draw us in further and remind us of freshly baked brownies.
The first sip of 2017 Pugachev’s Cobra unleashes all of the aromas as flavors onto our palates and reminds us of why cellaring beers such as these to perfection is so important. Any acrid, acidic, or over-charred flavors that may have been present when first bottled have long since gone away, leaving behind a supremely balanced and well integrated solution in which the flavors have room to thrive. Layer upon layer of dark chocolate, vanilla, and toasty oak are complemented by subtle maple syrup sweetness and dark coffee bitterness. The influence of the bourbon barrel is more evident on the palate as it gives off a warming mouthfeel and velvety smoothness. The senses are further heighted by dark dried fruit flavors, adding a touch of tartness, and a pleasant vinous quality. Fine bubbles produce a creamy mousse which sticks to the palate and encourages a bit of time between sips, allowing your senses a full experience of this special elixir. This beer is full bodied to say the least, but exhibits a smooth and luscious texture from the start and has a long lasting finish reminiscent of a fine bourbon.
This beer has been cellar aged to perfection and is ready to drink now, but the potent ABV suggests this can age gracefully for a few more years. The dark malts, toasty bourbon-barrel notes, deep caramels, and dark chocolates give this a surprising amount of flexibility for food pairings. We could see transcendent results with everything from spice-rubbed sirloin to a creamy, maple syrup-driven dessert course.
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