Forces Way Beyond Our Control | Triptych Brewing
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It honestly feels like we feature Triptych Brewing more than we do. The variety of styles they produce typically match what a brewery like Revolution puts out. Only difference is Triptych is about two hours south in Savoy, IL and their beer infrequently makes it up to Chicago. But that just makes trips down there extra special because then it feels special getting all the Triptych variety I can. Speaking to that variety, their barrel-aging program has grown a fair amount and Forces Way Beyond Our Control shows how much it has grown.
Forces Way Beyond Our Control starts as Forces Beyond On Control, an imperial stout with coconut and vanilla. For this year’s iteration, it rested in bourbon barrels for up to 24 months and then conditioned on 400 pounds (!) of coconut and a couple pounds of Madagascar vanilla beans. (Guessing they cost about the same; thank all that Meme money.) Benevolently sold in 12 ounce cans, because it clocks in at 15.3%. That’s crazy.
Forces Way Beyond Our Control pours black with a finger of brown head. The head forms with really small, soda-like bubbles and evaporates much in the same way. When holding Forces in the light you can see a film and some particulate, mostly like due to the coconut. The glass staining, however, really sets this beer apart. While it doesn’t change the color of the glass the way other barrel-aged stouts have, the amount of alcohol streak is substantial. So much alcohol stays behind it that “legs” – a trail of alcohol from where the beer had been. Can’t say that I’ve ever seen that (or realized it) on a beer before.
Nothing surprising on the nose here. Chocolate and vanilla dominate, while some alcohol burn tickles the nose at the end. Those 400 pounds of coconut do make an appearance, but it shows up well behind the chocolate and vanilla. Pulling back and smelling it as a whole, it comes off as a boozy chocolate cake with a nice helping of vanilla icing on top.
Forces Way Beyond Our Control recalls a variation on Goose Island’s Proprietor’s Bourbon County from 2013. If you were lucky to have that fresh, it was a liquefied Mounds bar. Forces is similar, except replace the sweet chocolate with a bitter chocolate. Any sweetness stays confined to the lips. The bitter chocolate keeps any sweetness in check, making only the booziness at the end preventing you from chugging it too quickly.
Both the vanilla and coconut are controlled in Forces Way Beyond Our Control. The vanilla adds some sweetness and isn’t overdone, complementing the chocolate and not being a vanilla bomb. The coconut never turns this beer into sunscreen thankfully. It rests on the tongue and, along with the bitter chocolate, remains after the sip. You’re also not hit with a double dose of high alcohol and syrupy mouthfeel with the medium to light mouthfeel not weighing things down.
Forces Way Beyond Our Control confirms what I already knew about Triptych since I had their Barrel-aged Cherry Chocolate Imperial Stout at Beer Under Glass in 2013 – they know how to barrel age. I appreciate the bitter chocolate keeping the beer from going way too sweet and the restrained vanilla and coconut. I’d like less alcohol burn on the end, but that’s a small complaint and one that prevents you from downing the 12 ounces too quickly. Get some.