Tag Archive | the event horizon

Redux Review 0022: Olde Hickory The Event Horizon Imperial Stout (2012)

10261136_236021229933808_2119703821_n

Back in December 2012, I first reviewed Olde Hickory’s The Event Horizon, a limited-release Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels. I gave it high praise, awarding it 95 points, calling it “perhaps the finest example of chocolate in a beer that I’ve had to date.” Why not age one and see how it does over the course of time? That’s why we are here today.

Olde Hickory Brewery is located in Hickory, North Carolina, and was founded by Steven Lyerly and Jason Yates in 1994. They started making beer on a seven barrel system, and the small batch mindset continues to this day, with batches being 800 gallons or less at a time. In fact, Olde Hickory are so small, the majority of their beers have hand stamped best by dates on the bottles.

The Event Horizon is brewed once yearly, using ten different malts and local honey. It is then placed in oak bourbon barrels and allowed to age for an undetermined period of time; release is always in the late fall. The beer is 8.5% ABV (alcohol by volume).

My initial review:

0299-oldehickoryeventhorizon

Appearance: 15 of 15 points
Aroma: 13 of 15 points
Flavor and Palate: 34 of 35 points
Drinkability and Overall Experience: 33 of 35 points

Final Score: 95 points, or classic on my rating scale.

With around 18 months of basement time, let’s drink this one again…

3d461a12c5d211e3b3d00002c9e117aa_8

The pour issued up a small, dark tan head that was creamy in texture, but didn’t stick around very long. The beer is a spectacular stout black, with not even a glimmer of light coming through around the edges. This brew is dark; it’s so dark, that I couldn’t begin to tell you anything about the body of the beer other than it didn’t appear to contain any particles or sediment. Lacing was good, leaving behind initial solid yet thin sheets of suds, but it grew more sparse as I sipped.

One word to summarize the nose: AMAZING! Well-rounded: tons of chocolate, both dark and milk, semi-sweet and bitter, plenty of sweet caramel, and it’s balanced with just enough bourbon barrel character to make it really interesting. The bourbon lends itself more to the spicy end, with notes of vanilla bean and mild oak. Waves of these scents compete, and as it warms, a dark fruit twist joins in. Sweet, complex, and nearly mind-blowing…now I’m ready for a sip!

474a88ccc5d211e3ac200002c9d39744_8

The initial flavors go off like a bomb: thick caramel, sweet chocolate, then vanilla and heavily roasted malt. There’s a kiss of dark fruit (cherries and prune) before a solid note of bourbon kicks in and continues to linger throughout. The finish sees the return of dark chocolate, and it’s layered — echo upon echo of fudge bittersweet goodness, this beer is suddenly like climbing a mountain of fine chocolate. Wow. There’s a nice honey sweetness in the back, and the concluding notes bring a wash of hot alcohol, bourbon, and toasted oak barrel. Event Horizon is full-bodied, with a thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Not only has age been super kind to this beer, but it’s turned it into a work of art. The flavors are strong, complex, and it has all melded together breathtakingly well. When I say this was a treat to drink, I’m not exaggerating. Pure joy!

Olde Hickory The Event Horizon Imperial Stout (2012), 98 points. Price: $12.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

0022-oldehickorytheeventhorizon2012

Advertisements

Beer Review 0299: Olde Hickory The Event Horizon Imperial Stout

bcd60cca4d4611e2a03a22000a1fbd56_7

Now here’s a beer I’ve been stoked to try ever since I rated Olde Hickory’s Lindley Park Imperial Stout a classic 99 points, falling in love with its use of chocolate malt: The Event Horizon Imperial Stout, which is the base beer for Lindley Park.

Olde Hickory Brewery is located in Hickory, North Carolina, and was founded by Steven Lyerly and Jason Yates in 1994. They started making beer on a seven barrel system, and the small batch mindset continues to this day, with batches being 800 gallons or less at a time. In fact, Olde Hickory are so small, the majority of their beers have hand stamped best by dates on the bottles.

The Event Horizon is an Imperial Stout brewed with local honey, ten varieties of malt, and then barrel aged in oak bourbon containers. Coming in at 8.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), this is a limited release beer that comes out in the late fall, and it usually disappears from shelves rapidly.

ce0bdad84d4611e2b7ea22000a1f9366_7

Release from the bottle provided an average size, creamy and dark brown head, which quickly fizzed away. The beer was a very dark brown, not quite pitch black, but it was opaque and had a muddy texture as it poured. The body was clear of particles and sediment, and lacing was most excellent, leaving behind thin, sticky, dark tan sheets all over my glass as I sampled.

The aroma was pungent; I could smell this beer as soon as I was able to clear enough of the wax top to strike the cap. Tons of dark chocolate, some caramel, and a bit of toffee shine through, very sweet and inviting. There’s a subtle dark fruit presence in the form of jammy grape and a bit of tart cherry, and a kiss of bourbon. As it warmed, the scent reminded me of a chocolate cake batter or perhaps cookie dough.

dea74e7c4d4611e29d6522000a9f134c_7

Tasting, this starts off a bit oddball with some dark fruit — but it’s lighter dark fruit, if that makes any sense. That quickly transitions into a semi-sweet chocolate that never really lets up. The finish is where the brunt of Event Horizon’s flavors can be found; it delivers both milk and dark chocolate that eventually fades into a mild bourbon that offers a subtle vanilla and oaky character. The finish is long and unwinds over the course of a couple of minutes, so take your time between sips to get the optimal flavor. Full-bodied and with a thick, creamy mouthfeel, there’s no outright alcohol presence here, other than a slight warming from the bourbon flavor.

While Olde Hickory doesn’t make the best use of the bourbon barrel, this is damn tasty and perhaps the finest example of chocolate in a beer that I’ve had to date. It’s only my personal opinion, but when I see “bourbon barrel aged,” I expect the bourbon to be more up front. It came more to the forefront as this brew warmed, and honestly, I think this is worth seeking out or making a special trip for. It’s a classic, for sure; if only for the layers of chocolate the tongue gets to pick through on that velvety and elegant finish.

Olde Hickory The Event Horizon Imperial Stout, 95 points. Price: $12.99 for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

0299-oldehickoryeventhorizon

%d bloggers like this: