By Staff Blogger Dave Drury
While waiting for a friend to finish up, I decided to head to Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard, Illinois until they were ready. When I got there I saw a beer I needed to buy – regardless of style – by the name of Bob Ross Did It.
As a huge fan of Bob Ross I decided to purchase the 25.4 ounce bottle for the steep price of $15. But, as I also like Noon Whistle and their beer, I was happy to hand over the money.
Turns out Bob Ross Did It was a scotch ale…but not just any scotch ale. This scotch ale was aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels before Noon Whistle distributed it among one thousand 750 mL bottles. There still might be a few bottles left, as I got what was only the 404th bottle on December 15th.
The bottle was refrigerated when I got it so I let it warm up a bit before I popped the cork to it…letting the flavors smooth out and subdue a little. Once it got closer to room temperature, it was time. I uncorked it to a surprisingly weak “pop”…I thought for sure it’d be louder, but alas…
As I poured Bob Ross Did It, it was an incredibly opaque black that blocked out almost every inch of light. Roughly a finger of tan, airy head topped the beer and quickly faded down to just a dusting around the edge and one cloudy pattern floating in the center.
On the nose the bourbon really stands out. If I closed my eyes and took a whiff I could easily mistake this beer for straight bourbon. But, the more it opened up, the more other flavors came out and, behind the strong Heaven Hill, there were some light sugary notes, a nice firm oaky quality, some maple syrup sweetness, and some hints of dark fruit as well.
It was big. It was bold. And I was ready to try it…or at least I thought I was.
My first sip started with a lighter to medium body and just the smallest dash of carbonated bubbles fizzing on my tongue. The mouthfeel certainly wasn’t as thick as I thought it would be.
Then the flavors hit my taste buds.
The Heaven Hill led everything off with a strong hint of boozy bourbon but quickly the flavors from the beer took over and cut into that strong alcoholic sting. The maple syrup sweetness joined forces with some caramel malt and provided a very sweet rush to my tongue, calming the whiskey bite.
Then, as the flavors were ending, the dark fruits (mostly plum and cherry) subtly built upwards from the mass of vanilla sweetness; ending the sip with a really nice, although somewhat sugary, taste to it.
I can drink some bourbons/whiskeys (my go to is Bulleit if you were wondering) but I’m still an amateur when it comes to bourbon barrel aged beers and scotch ales so I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. But my goodness was I pleasantly surprised!
At 10.2% ABV, this bottle can really hit you hard if you don’t share…but even if you do share it’ll make its mark. But what I really enjoyed was that, even though you know all that alcohol is there, it doesn’t sting like most high ABV beers. It’s a slow subtle burn that just warms your chest (and face) on its way down.
The bourbon, while prevalent in the smell and up front, doesn’t overwhelm the flavor but instead adds a nice oakiness to it and increased the booze level (which I’m all for!). Instead it’s the maple and fruit qualities that combine nicely with the bourbon to create a super delightful, well-balanced, scotch ale.
If all bourbon barrel aged scotch ales were like this one, I’d drink a lot more of them. Noon Whistle has really hit it out of the park with this. Finding this beer was, as Bob Ross would say, “a happy little accident” because it was delicious.
Head to Noon Whistle and try to find your bottle before they’re all gone this year! 8.5/10
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