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Drink of the Week: Brewery Ommegang’s Three Philosophers-Bourbon Barrel

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12 percent ABV. $5.49 for a 16 oz. can at Green’s.

Brewery Ommegang has been brewing Belgian-inspired beers for more than 20 years near Cooperstown, New York. Its portfolio of beers is a remarkable collection of Belgian styles that have remained popular among knowledgeable enthusiasts despite many people’s infatuation with India Pale Ales.

Three Philosophers is a special release. It’s referred to as a “quadrupel” — or a “strong ale” — and the bourbon-barrel-aged version is a sought-after variant.

Three Philosophers is a rich and complex beer. Dark malts impart flavors reminiscent of dark chocolate, and Belgian dark candi sugar is added to create flavors of dark fruit and molasses. Kriek (cherry) ale is added along with fresh cherries, and these create a halo of flavor around the rich molasses and chocolate notes. Barrel-aging adds more alcohol with the unmistakable vanilla and caramel notes of bourbon. The beer has a touch of sweetness at mid-taste, but that fades on the finish.

These flavors are perfectly balanced to make for one rich, sophisticated sipping beer. Enjoy at cool room temperature like a fine cognac after a special meal. Cheers!

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