Leap year means leap beer. The best thing about a leap year? Its an extra day to drink! And Boneshire Brew Works provided that with their release of a new Long Tongue Liar. Long Tongue Liar, a beer I’ve mentioned on the blog before, but not reviewed, was quickly one of my favorites from them when first released. Its not released as often as some of the more staples that Boneshire offers (like Green Machine, Testify, etc.) but when it does, I’m quick to order a pint (…or two… or three…. or perhaps even four.)
This version of it though is something special altogether. This was barrel aged, for 2.5 years; aged in a California Chardonnay barrel with Pennsylvania cherries and Brettanomyces Lambicus. It was worth every day this beauty spent penned up and locked in that barrel. This is just a beautiful and wonderful beer.
First, let’s dive into what makes this complex beer tick. Starting off with something people might not know about: Brettanomyces Lambicus. Wyeast has this to say about it: “Brettanomyces lambicus. Profile: This is a wild yeast strain isolated from Belgian lambic beers. It produces a pie cherry-like flavor and sourness along with distinct “Brett” character. A pellicle may form in bottles or casks.” (Wyeast) From Wikipedia: “Brettanomyces is a non-spore forming genus of yeast in the family Saccharomycetaceae, and is often colloquially referred to as “Brett”. The genus name Dekkera is used interchangeably with Brettanomyces, as it describes the teleomorph or spore forming form of the yeast.: (Wikipedia) The quick and the short of it – is that the Brettanomyces lambicus is what gives this beer its tartness, its sourness, what turns it from being a Belgian into something reminiscent of Belgian Lambics such as the famous ones like Cantillon.
This is the heavy duty yeast strains that Mellow Mink works with a lot. If you recall our visit there earlier this year, where we sampled some from the various barrels that were currently aging beer; as well as their Scarlet Sunrise, this is THEE yeast that does all the magic for all of these types of beers.
Obviously, the next big thing to discuss is the California Oak Chardonnay barrel this is aged in. And aged for a WHILE to boot. Two and a half years to be exact. Thats a long time to age, and it imparts a lot of the Chardonnay flavors and tannins. This is where most of the dryness comes from, as well as a bit of the tartness. You also get some of the oak flavors in the beer; as well as the wine like qualities from the Chardonnay. The barrel definitely imparts a lot of nuanced flavors into this beer.
But, ontop of the yeast strain, and the Chardonnay barrel, the cherries give this beer the biggest punch of the tartness. Cherries on their own can have a tartness, but let to sit in a beer, aging in oak, for two and a half years, and you are gonna get a lot of tartness. Some dryness. But also a ton of flavor, and that’s certainly achieved here.
So, now that we discussed some what makes this beer tick; let’s break it down and review it!
Beer: Long Tongue Liar – Barrel Aged with Cherries and Brett-Lam
Style: Belgian Tripel
Untappd Description: This version of Long Tongue Liar was aged with Pennsylvania Sweet Cherries and with Brettanomyces Lambicus. This strain of Brett intensifies the cherry flavor and sourness and creates a distinct “Brett” character. All of this was done in a California Chardonnay Barrel. Did we mention that this sat patiently for 2.5 years?!
Appearance is dark wine red. Like the barrel this aged in (Chardonnay) it gives off a very vibrant red coloring, both from the barrel as well as all of the cherries that this sat and soaked in with. It has the look and feel of a heavy Belgian. This is definitely a full, heavy bodied beer.
Aroma is strong, powerful, like uncorking a bottle of wine. You get the cherries super powerful, right up front, kicking in the front door and leading the charge, you get the oak of the barrel, you get the Chardonnay wine notes, and then you get the distinctive Belgian (particularly the distinctive original Long Tongue Liar) notes; that particular smell that comes from the yeast strain, the various spices, etc. Its bold, its strong, and its powerful. This just smells damn delicious before even getting to the first sip.
And oh boy, what a first sip that is! I think calling this complex might be a bit of an understatement. There is a lot to unpack with this beautiful beer, and it just rocks you right on that first sip. First off, this is chock full of cherry flavor. Both sweet and tart cherry, but neither more overpowering than the other. Its more sweet cherry but the tartness of the Brett and aging makes it very tart as well. So right out of the gate you got very heavy cherry flavor thats competing in kind of a tug of war between sweet and cherry, then you get rocked with the oakyness of the barrel, which segues right into the Chardonnay flavor. Chardonnay is an interesting wine; like most wines, it gets a lot of its distinctive notes and flavors from the area the grapes are mostly harvested from. This can lend it all kinds of fruit flavors; apple, lemon papaya, mango, and even pineapple. It is also a dry wine, with a medium level of acidity and alcohol (compared to other wines). When stored in barrels, it gets different notes based on what barrels its stored in; oak typically gives it a vanilla and smoothness to it that alleviates some of the acidity. What this imparted to the Long Tongue Liar – (or at least what I took from it or tasted) was some apple, lemon, some of the vanilla smoothness, I also took away a little of the papaya in its buttery smoothness though this could also be part of the vanilla flavors I picked up on. The tartness really shines in this beer, it gives you a very mouth puckering, enjoyable, dry, dense, tartness that really brings out the flavors. There is nothing cloying about this, nothing too sweet. The mouthfeel feels exactly spot on, heavy, nothing is watery, certainly no off flavors and no bad aftertaste. Finally the final notes of tasting are the various Belgian spices: coriander, orange peel, clove, all in minute, subtle, just a hint of each. All combined to leave this as one of the most complex, gorgeous, and well rounded and tasting beers I’ve had in a looooooong looooooong looooooong time.
My Untappd Rating: ****.75
Global Untappd Rating: 4.23 (as of 3.6.20)
This article was meant to be posted yesterday, but my time kept getting used up… plus then it got gorgeous out…. so I had a lunchtime beer outside while reading… then I had to run errands… and then before I knew it, it was time for my business meeting with the rep from Visit Hershey & Harrisburg at the new Tattered Flag Distillery Lounge; formerly the Hershey Biergarten. That was a great meeting, scheduled from 5-7, instead hung out with the guy until 8:40 discussing the blog, beer, the local area, various breweries, ways to promote breweries, and things that I can’t discuss here yet on the blog (but soon!). Lots of exciting things planned in the future; not just for myself, but for the local breweries and everyone. So definitely stay tuned for all of that, and we’ll be right on the front line of that.
There is definitely lots of fun things on the horizon here for The Beer Thrillers. So be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and like and subscribe to us here on the blog.
(And before I forget, Boneshire Brew Works still has bottles of this beauty at their brewery on Derry Street, for 22$ a bomber. As of last I have seen, they still had this on tap, but by the time you’re reading this, it might be kicked because they only saved a little for kegging.)