We have a back to back to back review here with Smoke Chaser, a cherry wood smoked barley wine that’s been aged in a rye whiskey barrel. The other two are of the same beer, one having been aged in a bourbon barrel, and the other a doubled barreled variant. Oddly enough, I don’t have the regular Smoke Chaser to review, only the barrel aged variants. And speaking of variants, limiting production only seems to add irritation to beer hunting, and cost, and doesn’t add any excitement to this little hobby of mine. It also leads to hoarding, which as anyone who’s seen the TV show Hoarders, knows that this unhealthy and can only lead to a horrendous conclusion. So, instead of stashing this in my basement for years on end, only to sell it at cost to some bloke on Facebook, less the shipping, I opened this ‘Bottle count – 1600’ and poured it into my big glass you see here.
Once I got Smoke Chaser opened, which was a task all on its own with the excessive wax on the cap, it smelled like a run of the mill barley wine beer, with slight smoke, and someone baking bread nearby. Notes of barrel and alcohol also wafted around, which were welcomed. And its taste matches the nose but with an added bitterness to it. As if smokebeers weren’t harsh enough on your taste buds already, the bitterness in this one will ensure that your palate is completely exhausted by the end of the night. The brewers description does recommend small pours, but where’s the fun in that? Next they’ll recommend leaving my driver at home the next time I go golfing. So, did you know that this beer is 14.1% abv? You will about a third of the way through if you skipped dinner like I did, and I’ve had a few tonight already, of course. I hope I make it to my bed tonight, and not just on top of the sheets still wearing my jeans. My wife won’t think that’s funny at all. This beer is too thin. Too bitter. Too dry. Not enough deep rich and sweet barley wine flavors floating around in here. I hope the next 2 Tioga beers fare a bit better. Overall score = 3 smokestacks out of 7.
|Beer Name||Smoke Chaser (Rye Whiskey Barrel)|
|Brewer’s Description||Smoke Chaser comes from the name given to brave firefighters that defend California’s forests from devastating wild fires. Our American Style Smoked Barley Wine aged in our cellar for a 12 months in Rye Whiskey Barrels. What differentiates this beer from its bourbon barrel aged country part is an overall dryer mouthful and taste that accentuates the spices in the whiskey. Smoke Chaser is still transformed into an intensely complex beer with deep running flavors of oak, vanilla, and smoked cherry wood. This beer is always recommended to be enjoyed in small pours, with friends, and of course with one of your favorite cigars.|
|Brewery Location||Fresno, CA|
|Alcohol content by volume||14.1%|
|IBU (International Bitterness Units)||90|
|Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)||3.5|
|Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)||3|
|Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks||2|
|Sausage detection? Y or N||N|
|Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)||2|
|Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose)||5|
|Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy)||3|
Tioga-Sequoia has just about the best brewers website I’ve ever seen. Learn more at: