Drink Local Georgia Blog

Reviewing Three Barrel Aged Beers from New Realm Brewing's Wooded Reserve Series.

New Realm Brewing, located on the Atlanta Beltline, put together a series of five barrel aged beers
 and provided Volumes 3, 4 and 5 for us to try. These were part of their 2019 Wooded Reserve series, while Volumes 4 and 5 were just released January 28, 2020 and are available at New Realm's brewery and taproom but with limited supply.

The barrel aged beers we tried included a Russian imperial stout then a reserve Belgian quad aged in bourbon barrels for one volume and aged in rum barrels for another. Below is a brief review of each, starting with the new releases, Volumes 4 and 5.

Volume 4 - Reserve Quadrupel Aged in Bourbon Barrels

New Realm Wooded Reserve 2019 Series Volume 4
All the barrel aging qualities were evident in this Belgian-style quad. It's incredibly smooth with oaky bourbon notes. It doesn't taste boozy but at 11.2% ABV brings a nice warmth.

It pours a dark brown color but with a reddish or cherry tint to it. For a beer, it’s surprisingly reminiscent of a Manhattan cocktail, in both smell and taste. Cherry notes and a bourbon smell come through strong, and it actually reminded me of Filthy brand black cherries often used for garnishing Manhattans. The fact this beer was aged in bourbon barrels is evident, and that is on top of an excellent beer pre-barrel aging. The barrel aging takes the smoothness to the next level, and there is very little boozy taste despite the boozy warmth it gives you. The alcohol is hidden in the smooth, complexity of this beer.

In terms of taste, sweet cherry and vanilla notes come through first, but when you swallow you recognize the bourbon and charred oak notes. This is an excellent beer and my favorite of the Wooded Reserve series.

Volume 5 - Reserve Quadrupel Aged in Rum Barrels

New Realm Wooded Reserve 2019 Series Volume 5
Volume 5 is equally impressive as volume 4. This reserve Belgian Quadrupel was aged 9 months, just as long as volume 4, but in rum rather than bourbon barrels. It is incredibly smooth in a way that is only made possible by barrel aging, but the rum barrels provides a totally different profile. Whereas the previous volume was comparable to a Manhattan cocktail, this one is more like rum raisin ice cream. The rum is just as evident as the bourbon in volume 4.

Volume 5 takes the same reserve Belgian Quad and ages it nine months in Barbados rum barrels. The beer has sweet vanilla and caramel notes that come through first, it is velvety smooth with some dark fruit notes like black cherry or fig. This combined with a rum-like flavor and the vanilla really convey a rum raisin feel. This one is even higher ABV than its predecessor at 12.5% ABV. This beer is boozy in the warmth it provides but not in taste. The alcohol is masked by the sweet notes upfront and the smooth profile throughout. This beer is just as great as volume 4 and both are incredible. Whether you prefer whiskey or rum will likely determine whether you prefer volume 4 or 5 of this barrel aged Belgian quad. Really the best choice is to try them both, for enjoyment and comparison.

Volume 3 - Doomsday Hound Russian Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

New Realm Wooded Reserve 2019 Series Volume 3
Doomsday Hound Russian Imperial Stout was the third edition in New Realm's barrel aged Wooded Reserve series. Aged seven months across once and twice used bourbon barrels, this imperial stout pours a thick dark brown with a cherry oak head. Immediately after popping the cork this beer smelled sweet with vanilla notes. The taste is smooth and sweet, but dark and complex. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla and coconut notes all come through such that each is apparent but none are dominant. The barrel aging really brings out the smoothness in this beer, there is a bit of oakiness to it as well, and it is easy to forget it’s over 10% ABV when drinking it because the beer is smooth and balanced. Only 85 cases were produced of this special release beer.