Terrapin Beer Co.
Phlux Capacitor Oak-aged American Strong Ale
Athens, GA’s Terrapin – my favorite brewery from my home state – regularly cranks out new and adventurous brews through their Side Project series. These one-off batches has cranked out everything from a black saison to a hefeweizen-IPA hybrid, and the series continues to impress with each new brew.
Side Project 16 is Phlux Capacitor, an homage to “Back to the Future,” albeit “incidentally.” This oak-aged take on the American strong ale was originally planned to clock in at 12.1% ABV – 1.21 gigawatts, anyone? – but Spike and company had to settle for 9.8%.
As I said in my lightning Untappd review, Phlux Capacitor gave me wood.
The beer pours a murky, muddy water brown color. It’s slightly lighter brown around the edges, but there’s no light coming through the middle. It’s quite dark and dank. On top is a finger and a half of a foamy head, but it doesn’t last for long. There’s really nice lacing around the edges but only some minor alcohol legs.
The oak note flooded out of the glass as I was pouring. There’s an incredible woody, earthy smell to it, like sticking your head in a wooden box. But it’s all balanced with a really strong sugary sweetness. I also got a very slight hint of raspberry and a slight barleywine note from the dark fruits and molasses.
The oak smell is tenfold in the taste with insane wood notes on the tongue. There’s massive, massive notes of oak and cedar that linger in your mouth forever, as if you’re eating a cedar plank. A slight hop bitterness pinches in on the front of the tongue. There’s not much going on mid palate, but the wood just explodes at the back. But again, the sweeter notes really do a lot to balance it out. It’s got a slightly cloying sweetness to it, with hints of burnt sugar and molasses.
I love oak-aged beers, but this one takes the cake. While stouts and porters do more to round out the flavor and somewhat mask the wood notes, this one had contrasting flavors of oak and sweetness. It sounds strange, but it’s not off-putting. It’s definitely a sipper, and one you might want to share with some friends, but it’s an incredibly unique beer worth checking out.