One way to get someone to buy a beer is to throw out buzzwords. Barrel Aged or Imperial or Specialty Ale are things you’ll see on a lot of beers, and for the most part, those are the ones you want to try the most. Community Beer Company out of Dallas, Texas, has a Belgian-Style Dark Specialty Ale called Inspiration. Throw that into some barrels, and you’ll have a beer worth trading for. This is Barrel Aged Inspiration from Community Beer Company.
What a beautiful beer! Inspiration is borderline brilliantly clear; it’s a deep dark chestnut color with amber red hues. I call this color “cherry coke”. If you’ve ever made a homemade cherry coke then you know what I’m talking about. The head is thin, typical in barrel aged beers, and is an off-white to khaki color. Really pretty beer, can’t get much better than this!
Holy smokes! Digging my nose into this Mast Glass is an incredible experience. Inspiration smells like a cherry cordial. Lots of dark fruits and cherries, and chocolate, then you start to get the barrel character: vanilla, woodiness, and leather. I’ve had a decent amount of barrel aged beers on this site, but this one is right up there with the best. It’s smooth but complex, delicate yet powerful, just an A+ experience.
The mouthfeel of Inspiration is just what I wanted in a barrel aged Belgian. It’s medium to full bodied, but is not quite so chewy and sticky that it would be too saccharine. Even at 10.2%, I don’t get a strong alcohol presence from this one, which is pretty darn impressive.
While this is a good beer, the aroma is much more enticing than the flavor, for me. I get some cola-like flavors, lots of dark cherries, and just a hint of vanilla from the barrel. There’s this weird lingering smokiness that I want to attribute to the barrel, but I can’t be sure on that. For a Belgian-style Dark Specialty Ale, I’m not getting a ton of the typical Belgian beer flavors. It’s not yeasty and funky and complex, it’s actually kid of boring. In a way, this is more like a Jack and Coke than a Belgian ale, to me. Very strange, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a beer that tastes quite like Inspiration.
I really wanted to love this beer. The aroma on Inspiration had me thinking this was going to be close to a 100 beer, but the flavor just lacked too much. Great complex beers often have multiple layers of flavor that you can sift through and pick out. This was too “one-note” for me. If I was looking for layers of complexity, I was given a blended smoothie of dullness. That being said, it isn’t a bad flavor at all, just kind of a boring one. For that reason, I’m going to go 82. It’s a decent beer, but left me wanting just a bit more.
Let me know if you’ve had Community’s Inspiration. Did you love it? Did you hate it? Leave comments below!