I got some more samples: the Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection. I'm trying the Stony Brook Red, a barrel-aged 'red,' a Flanders red kind of beer, I guess, only the damned thing's 9%. Burgundian imperial? Anyway, it carries that 9% very well, and doesn't taste particularly boozy.
It's tart, not sour, and the nose is tart cherry, a bit of almond, some fizzy sweetness, and some wood. The taste is all that, dialed back a bit. In fact, it's gulpable. There's the tart, there's a bit of astringency -- not unpleasant -- and a thickness that doesn't get to be too much. This is a Flanders red smoothed and sanded to an easily grasped glass. Well. Relatively easily grasped. It's enjoyable, but for someone who's been drinking this kind of thing, good and bad, for years, it's kind of easily grasped.
I'm trying to think of a metaphor and none's coming. I mean, for the price -- $9 for a 750 ml bottle (and an odd-looking bottle, looks like a butter churn) -- it's pretty decent value. But what the hell is a 9% Flanders Red, and how much are you paying for the 9% part? I'm not clear on this one. I'll have to try the other two.