Recently, 10 Barrel Brewing has started a series of specialty, limited-release beers. These special beers will be hand-bottled and released roughly four to five times each year to select bottle shops in Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, and Idaho, as well as through 10 Barrel’s pubs in Bend, Boise, and Portland.

The first off the line is Estonya, a Baltic-inspired imperial (11.9% ABV) porter crafted by 10 Barrel’s head Bend brewer, Tonya Cornett, who aged it in Blanton’s Bourbon barrels from West Virginia.

The brewery describes it as having “strong whiskey characteristics with notes of vanilla, milk chocolate, figs, and caramel,” and intended to be cellared or drunk now, perhaps as a dessert beer or as a treat on its own.
Photo courtesy of 10 Barrel Brewing

Well, today I popped open a bottle of Estonya that was sent to me by 10 Barrel Brewing for review. (I’ve  got to point out that while the wax seal is a nice touch, aesthetically, it is a pain in the butt when it comes to uncapping the bottle!)

In the glass, Estonya is dark. Very dark, almost black. It does have a slight reddish undertone that sets apart from a stout in appearance.

It is a very satisfying draught, I must say. The nose is not heady, despite the high gravity.  I did not detect any outstanding alcoholic esters. What there is there is moderate and pleasant, and there is no alcoholic heat in the mouth (they do come in a bit as the beer warms.)

I certainly detected notes of figs and vanilla, but also a hint of dark cherries.  It is a bit sweet, in a way reminiscent of a milk stout.  It is smooth and round in the same way, as well, in terms of mouthfeel.

The brewery recommends Estonya with sweet dessert, but I think that as soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to cut a slice of Point Reyes Blue cheese to pair with it. I think it’ll be a good match.

In sum, I like it! And I’m already thinking “where can I get another bottle?”