I’ve been hearing rumors about interesting COOP experiments with barrel aged DNR for years, and was intrigued to see this pop up on the shelf. It is attractively packaged in a thick 375 ml corked and caged bottle and handsomely printed directly on the glass, a great new look for COOP. I like to see a big time 13% alcohol beer packaged in a smaller format, so that my wife doesn’t have to put up with me after doming a 750 on a Wednesday. I love a brandy barrel aged beer, and am fond of DNR, so I’m looking forward to this one.
Company: COOP Ale Works
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Style/Description: Belgian Dark Ale Aged in Brandy Barrels with Cherries
Price: $11.99 for a 375 ml
Appearance: Cloudy opaque ruby pour, light head and slight lace. Rising carbonation bubbles.
Nose: Boozy aggressive alcohol in the nose. As the beer warms and mellows, notes of vanilla, chocolate and perfume.
Taste: The brandy barrel comes through, accentuating the sweet alcohol of the DNR base beer, offering a hint of toffee and oak. I’m not getting much of the cherries, save perhaps a hint of sugary tartness. Some vanilla sneaks in, with nutmeg and clove spiciness adding to the complexity. Dark fruits, plums and raisins. Mouthfeel is moderate but sticky, with a mild carb.
Finish: Booze warms one the way down. Plum and cherries linger on the palette.
Overall: I’m happy to see COOP doing some more experimenting, and trying some more interesting barrel aging on their base beers. I’ve been a fan of DNR since it was released at the 51st St. Speakeasy many years ago, and go back to it on a regular basis. The brandy barrel and cherries add some flavor, but throw off the texture of the beer for me. I love the boozy dryness of the original, and I feel that the cherries make it a tad sticky in this version. That being said, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit and plan on buying a few extras to cellar and see if they dry out. Buy ‘em up before they’re gone!