Wow. It has been six months since my last review. I almost feel guilty.
But not guilty enough to keep from telling you all how awesome Traquair House is as a brewery. According to the website,
The brewery currently produces around 600 - 700 barrels per annum. (200,000 bottles and the remainder draught) Brewing takes place all year round with the exception of August. The brewery expanded its premises in 1993 but continues to ferment its total production in the original oak vessels. At present there is room to increase production by a further 20% but there are no plans to expand beyond this as it is intended to retain brewing in the original style and premises.
I'm pretty sure that I sold this line at the old basement as well, in a review of the utterly awesome Traquair House Ale (if you see this in your local bottle shop, BUY IT!!!).
Today, I'm moving on to taunt, err, regale you with another bottle of awesomeness (and I don't mean donkey-sauce awesome, I mean reality awesome) from Traquair House: the Jacobite Ale "wee heavy" flavored ale.
Pouring dark and thick, and clocking in at 8 pct ABV, you might think that this is a beer that will bludgeon you to death. But noOOoooo. Despite the heft, this brew is light on its feet, complex, and, well, magnificent.
The nose is roasty, slightly sweet, with hints of chocolate, dried fruit, coffee, oak and a heft of dark malts. The mouthfeel is creamy and oh-so-smooth. The flavor profile is very similar to a great Russian Imperial Stout (think Old Rasputin) with molasses and fruit, but sophisticated, refined, and compelling. There's some spice in there too, but it is so well blended into the flavor profile that you'll struggle to identify it.
This is the kind of beer that makes you sad that Budmilloors exists, because it shows just how noble and great beer can be. At the same time, this is not your everyman, pound-a-few-after-work ale. Session beers have their place, I know. And so does this. It's a special occasion ale, which is why I drank it on Christmas this year.
You know that this is a sipping beer, and you'll try to sip, but before you even realize it, your glass is empty. And you are sad. Because you didn't buy two.
Traquair House. As if I needed another reason to visit Scotland.