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KCM Spirit Reviews

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review 55: New Holland Oak Aged Hatter

Review 55
New Holland Oak Aged Hatter: 7.12% abv

With only a few days left until Hatter Day, we have another beer on the table, and this one is quite the interesting one. Another IPA, but aged in oak casks for that extra something. What is that extra something, and how does it affect this beer? We are here to tell you exactly that. New Holland will tell you Kentucky oak casks were used for aging this bugger, but it's not clear whether they mean new charred white oak casks, or used bourbon casks. 

Off of the tasting notes, we'll guess it had used bourbon in it. Speaking of which, here they are. On the nose, you can find caramel, vanilla, honey, lemon and orange, pineapple, malt, cream, with earthy and floral notes to boot. Not the most complex of Hatter noses, but sweeter and pleasant. The arrival in the taste is sweet and mellow, with apple, lemon, honey, malt, pine, slight pineapple, and vanilla all being introduced into the taste. There is a definite, but subtle sweetness to this beer that reflects the influence of bourbon oak aging and contradicts the IPA style, in a good way. 

The finish is medium-long, possessing notes of pineapple, pine, citrus, wheat, sugary sweetness and light spiciness. Overall, this beer is a good expression of a variation on IPAs, and we'd love to see more of this in the future. There was some discussion on how significant the influence of the oak was by the panel, and it could be possibly greater, but it still holds a unique character and is respected for that reason. Just don't expect a drastic transformation. 

Score: 8.5/10

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