One doesn’t need to drive to Sea World to witness a whale birth in captivity. In the beer world, a “whale” is a highly sought-after beer; one where lines of bearded fellows beach themselves on blowup mattresses overnight for a chance to grab the maximum beer allocation, sometimes bringing the wife to double up.
Orange County has birthed a pod of whales over the years: The Bruery’s Black Tuesday, Bootlegger’s Knuckle Sandwich and TAPS Fish House & Brewery’s Remy’s Pappy. This month, Bottle Logic Brewing in Anaheim joined the whale club by releasing Fundamental Observation, a bourbon barrel-aged vanilla Russian Imperial Stout. The brewery wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of beer geeks ready to harpoon the 2,000 bottles sold on release day, which surprisingly sold out in just over an hour. Poachers preyed on the Bottle Logic van the following week making deliveries to local accounts, buying all the bottles they could.
The beer, which pours as dark as Shamu’s blow hole, appears viscous with icebergs of dark froth. Vanilla, a key flavor component of bourbon barrel aging, is accentuated heavily by a 1.5 pound addition of Madagascar vanilla beans to each cask. The aroma gushes chocolate, graham cracker, carob, whiskey and caramel behind sticky, fresh vanilla. Sipping at 62 degrees, the desired temp for this style, flavors of sweet boozy chocolate-covered-Peeps, tootsie rolls, fresh vanilla, caramelized sugar and dark fruits linger, causing my eyes to roll with each sip. The mouthfeel is decadent and silky; at 14.3% alcohol by volume, a taste includes some warming, but also allows the flavors to hang out for a loooooong time.
Unleashed at Bottle Logic’s first anniversary ‘Week of Logic’ back in February, Fundamental Observation was offered in individual whiskey barrel pulls. I noted they all were fairly similar, but with varying degrees of alcohol heat. I also noted this was my favorite beer of their special week, and it seems I wasn’t alone. The final blend was released early July at their Fundamental Flavor beer dinner that took place at the brewery, featuring five courses paired and cooked with Bottle Logic’s beers.
For a one-year old brewery, executing a world-class beer like Fundamental Observation is impressive. Is it a fluke? We will have to wait a year to see. Bottle Logic brewed the second batch recently and will induce it into a bourbon barrel coma, ready to be awakened sometime in 2016.
If you come across a bottle, be sure to snatch it up quickly, and give me a call so we can share it!
Bottle Logic / 1072 N. Armando Street, Anaheim