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The Beer Circle » Beer, Beer Release, Breweries, Buffalo Trace, Imperial Stout, Laird's Apple, Pappy Van Winkle, Tripel, Voodoo Brewery » Recap: Barrel Room Collection Release at Voodoo Brewery

Recap: Barrel Room Collection Release at Voodoo Brewery

Last weekend, Greg, Russ and Kenton made the trip to beautiful northwestern PA to see the brand new Voodoo Brewpub and hopefully buy some delicious barrel aged beers. This weekend was no normal weekend, it was the long awaited Barrel Room Collection release. For our faithful readers, you’ll remember our attempt to liveblog the event, but we figured it warranted a full writeup as well.

A lot of people speculated as to when everyone would start to line up because only 87 people could get a full allotment. Rumors flew of times as early as 5pm, so we approach Meadville with excitement, but some hesitation. We rolled in around 7:30pm and, luckily, nobody had gotten in line yet. We had a great time enjoying the beer and food at the new brewpub, which had the advantage of a second floor that was completed a mere days in advance.


The Menu


Knucklehead IPA

It was around 10:30pm that the line ultimately started forming. Although we originally didn’t plan on camping out the entire night, a majority of patrons in the brewpub were there for the event and followed the leader into the tent. Our crew finished our beers, donned our winter gear, and settled into the line at numbers 36 through 40. It was at this point that the bottle share ensued…and share we did.

The Tent

The Tent (With The Weather)

We really had a tough time keeping our glasses empty as a great number of very generous craft beer geeks swarmed to share their offerings. We even had a heated Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament with the winner receiving three free beers from the organizer. We had everything from IPAs from Maine, bourbon barrel aged barleywines from California, sours from Oregon, and basically everything in between. We had so much that we had to do a full review of our Untappd feeds the next morning to remember everything we had!

We were able to survive this bottle share, the 20 degree weather, and snow because of two words: heated tent. Voodoo was kind enough to set up a tent complete with space heaters and a queue line for everyone to settle in to. It seriously was, without a doubt, the nicest offer a brewery has put forth to accommodate their crazy beer fans. It made the night, and the release, something we will all remember for a long time!


The Long Awaited Tickets

At around 7:30am, after an unheard of number of beers and a better night’s rest than any of us expected to get, Voodoo employees gave us wristbands and allowed us to take our chairs and remaining beer bottles to our cars. All we had to do was be back by 10am, so a Sheetz run was absolutely necessary. The atmosphere back at the brewery was subdued compared to the night before. Most were either fighting hangovers, or drinking their’s off! Our group decided to swear off alcohol for a few hours to makes sure we could fully enjoy the beers on tap in the brewpub. We took advantage of something other than beer,  the roasted pig and hot dogs before lining up for the most important part of the event – receiving our allocations.

While waiting for the line to move, we noticed icicles beginning to melt and fall off of the edge of the second story of brewery. A few of them, being over a foot in length and dubbed “monsters” by the crowd, worried us if they would fall down on the drunkards below. Thankfully Matt Allyn (brewmaster) came to the rescue! Armed with a paint roller, he knocked the icicles harmlessly to the ground, to many cheers.

Matt knocking an icicle down

Action Shot of Matt Defeating Ice

After working our way into the brewpub for the final time, we awaited our tickets to be called with some amazing offerings: Grande Negro Voodoo Papi; 2 Live Gran Cru Greatest Hits Volume 1, a blend of Big Black Voodoo Daddy and Black Magick, both aged in Pappy van Winkle barrels; and 2 Live Gran Cru Greatest Hits Volume 2, a blend of Tenacious Wee and a barleywine, both aged in Pappy van Winkle barrels, drawn from a firkin. The chilis in Grande Negro Voodoo Papi came as a nice change to all the Pappy van Winkle we were drinking, but 2 Live Gran Cru Volume 1 was outstanding. It really made us excited for our allotments that were soon to come!

Finally, our numbers were called and we were able to return home for a much needed shower and a well deserved nap. Overall, it was one of the best large scale releases our group could remember. This release ws hyped up with the best of them, and seemingly the whole world was ready to crash Meadville for the day, but Voodoo was ready. Huge kudos go out to Matt and the whole crew for a well planned and executed event. It was a testament to their organization and planning. We will be back next time around for sure!

Before we wrapped up the weekend, Greg and Russ split one of the bottles with a few friends. We can’t wait to delve into the rest of the box!

Laird’s Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Big Black Voodoo Daddy
After removing the green wax and popping off the cap, the beer pours out black in color. The body is a bit more thin than I expected, and I can see through the beer at its edges. After a hard pour of around 5oz, a small amount of brown head builds up, but nothing remains after a minute or so.
The alcohol is really strong on the nose, much more so than I expected. I do get some apples, but overall it's a fruity sweetness that makes this beer distinct from its bourbon barrel aged brethren. Chocolate hides underneath, but this is all about the barrel.
The taste really improves as the beer warms, which I expected would be the case. The chocolate base is there, but isn't strong enough to carry through the brandy. The fruit is definitely prominent, as is the alcohol, but nothing really steps up and takes control of the beer. These somewhat disjointed flavors throw off the balance a bit. Certainly not as robust as Black Magick.
The main issue with this beer is that it's too thin. It needs a more robust body to hold up the high amount of alcohol. The BBVD flavors seem to have dissipated sometime during the 15 months in the barrel. The carbonation was also a bit low.
This bottle cost $19 and was limited to one bottle per person. I must say that this one in particular did not live up to that price tag, but I have not lost hope on the entire set! The beers on draft this weekend were amazing and I know that Black Magick will be an experience unto itself.
This was a good beer, but not the level of greatness I was hoping for. I suspect the Apple Brandy Black Magick is going to be amazing though, as it should clear up the body issues I have here.
Complete with the new Voodoo snifters

Complete with the new Voodoo snifters

Beer Stats
Style: Laird’s Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Serving: Bottle
Size: 22oz
ABV: 12.00%
BA Score: N/A (1 Review)
RB Score: N/A (0 Reviews)

*Edit: Matt Allyn is the brewmaster, not the head brewer.

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Written by Russ Beck, Greg Bruce and Kenton Martin

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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