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Friday, April 19, 2013

Naughty Temple – Toppling Goliath




                NaughtyTemple, from Toppling Goliath, was released just over a month ago now.  When it was released, Naughty Temple was big news.   Sadly, only one liquor store in Eastern Wisconsin received a case of it.  Like many in the region, I lined up at Three Cellars in Franklin, WI for a chance to purchase Naughty Temple, at the price of $25 a bottle.  Somehow, the fates were in my favor and I ended it up a few bottles.  Having had the excellent ZeeLander, I was thrilled to have multiple bottles of what I was sure would be an excellent beer.  A barrel aged version of their Naughty 90 IPA, the Naughty temple is an interesting concept.  It harkens back to a time when IPAs were brewed in England, then loaded on a boat, shipped around Cape Horn at the Southern tip of Africa, and delivered to British ex-patriots in India.

 As I am sure many of you are aware, hops were originally used in beer because of their antibacterial properties.  Hops allowed breweries to put out a product that had a lesser chance of infection than the gruit ales that were more popular at the time.  Whereas unhopped beers had a high chance of going sour or spoiling due to other infections, hopped beers remained remarkably preserved over time.  It is only fitting then that the first beer shipped hundreds of miles from the brewery would be heavily hopped.  The original British IPA is the resulting beer, one that was hopped at what was then an extreme rate, then stored in barrels and loaded on ships for the long trip to India.  By the time the India Pale Ales arrived, the hops flavors and bitterness would have faded to the point where the beer was more like a Pale Ale or a British Bitter.  The history of the IPA is a pretty interesting story, but its not one that I feel comfortable to discuss in detail.  For more information, check out Mitch Steele’s book, IPA. 

On to the review. 

At Beeradvocate, Naughty Temple has a score of 94.  At ratebeer, it has a score of 89 overall and a 73 for style.

They Say:

On the bottle:

                He ventures to the Naughty Temple, weaving through its intricate web of slithering sensations, while bitter loves dance playfully upon his tongue.  Slowly, slipping into madness, he surrenders himself to the sweet sip of seduction.  As he emerges in the wake of ecstasy, he is greeted with a warm, tender kiss.  A wave of bliss washes over him, and happiness is all that exists.

From the Owner

                The base beer is our Naughty 90, meant to remind folks of the beers that crossed the equator without refrigeration in oak barrels, survived the seas off Cape Horn, and arrived months later to quench the thirst of those that longed for the flavor of any beers, as was their geographical situation of isolation from beer! It showcases the oak as the predominant flavor influence, not anything like the IPAs of today. Instead of oaking the beer in virgin oak, the Naughty Temple is oaked in used whiskey barrels.

                We use a little lower than the usual ABV (under 8) for barrels, and are really selective about the barrels that make the final blend. Of the 6 barrels that made it the year and half through quarterly testing, only 3 made it for the final blend.

I Say:

                Naughty Temple pours a slightly hazy golden amber with a very thick, creamy, off white head that holds excellent retention through the entire glass and leaves behind considerable lacing in the glass.  The aroma is dominated by whiskey, vanilla, and oak from the Templeton Rye barrel.  Lingering around the oaky aromas, are subtle toffee and sweet caramel malts, complemented by earthy hops.
 
                The flavor is considerably more balanced than the aroma.  It has toffee and caramel notes from the malt that blend well, without being overwhelmed by the vanilla notes of toasted oak, whiskey, and a combination of earthy and spicy hop notes.  At first, Naughty Temple has a moderate alcohol bite that mellows considerably as the beer warms leaving a considerable amount of pleasant alcohol warmth.  Surprisingly, there is a lingering sour note on the back end.  Naughty Temple is full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.

                When poured into a goblet, most of the flavors were enhanced.  The alcohol notes, toffee, and more earthy hops, and sour notes were more prominent, while the oak and whiskey flavors were subdued.

                Naughty Temple is a good beer, I went into it with high hopes that were perhaps too high.  I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, after all its not every day that a brewery releases a barrel aged IPA.  If Naughty Temple were not so expensive, due to its rarity, then I would whole heartedly suggest that you all be on the lookout for it when it’s released again next year.  However, at the price point of $25, you should hold off.  Pick up some ZeeLander, or another of Toppling Goliath’s excellent beers instead, you will be happy you did.

                That’s all for today!  Have a great weekend!

                Happy Drinking!

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