09 Jun Thirsty Thursday Beer Review: St. John Malt Brothers’ El Cedrón IPA
I recently visited St. John Malt Brothers, in St. John, Indiana, and sampled several of their offerings. I have to say I was impressed by the quality and flavors this year-old brewery is putting out. There were several beers I took home, including Kilter B—Scotch barrel aged Barleywine; Belmageddon—IPA with Belma hops; and El Cedrón—IPA aged on Spanish cedar.
The barrel program that SJMB started, using Journeyman Distillery barrels, is outstanding! During my conversation with the brewer and owners, I heard there has only been one issue regarding over-carbonation in a barrel. It was aptly referred to as Beer-O-Shima. With all of the barrels full of beer in the brewery, I would count that as a success. I bring this up because even with my love of barrel aged anything, a non-barrel aged beer topped my list. It does have wood, though…
I poured and drank El Cedrón from a 22 oz bomber into a proper IPA glass. The beer is dark copper in color with a tight tan head which is great for the nose. The aroma is cedar with citrusy hops slightly breaking through the wood. I could bury my nose in this beer and breathe it in all day long! The cedar is strong on the pallet, but the hops come busting through on the back of the tongue. There is no doubt you are drinking a hoppy IPA even with the cedar flavors. There is also a smoothness to this beer that I would not have expected with such big flavors. When it coats the pallet you still get to taste the beer along with the wood. This has been an issue for me in the past with cedar aged beer. The mouthfeel is creamy and effervescent at the same time. The addition of the wood adds to the creaminess, while the carbonation allows the deeper aromas and flavors to shine. Overall, this beer is a joy to drink and I’m happy I’m able to find it around Indy at our local liquor stores.
When you see this beer on the shelf I recommend you buy it and drink it immediately. If the beer gets too cold, like I let mine get, you will enjoy the changes in taste and aroma while it warms up. At over 7% ABV and 70 IBUs, this beer isn’t for the faint of heart. El Cedrón seems to have been created for the true craft beer lover.
Keep drinking great beer and talking about it; I know I will!