Third Space Brewing | Double Barrel Nexus
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Third Space has been around for 4 years this month! Feels like forever ago we found out about them on our Brew City trip (it was July 2019), but they’ve been a constant presence in my house since then. The trip up isn’t that bad (Transient and Triptych – two of my other close but not really brewery faves – are a bit farther time-wise) and the beers are always solid at worst. So in honor of Third Space’s 4th anniversary, here’s Double Barrel Nexus!
Double Barrel Nexus starts off as Third Space’s Nexus of the Universe, but this one gets barrel-aged in both bourbon and port barrels to create that DB Nexus (Third Space loves their Seinfeld references). Released in December 2019, it spent nine months in bourbon and then one year in port barrels. (Untappd says cacao and vanilla added as well, but there’s no mention of either on the label.) A labor of love and one Third Space started during their first year of operations!
Double Barrel Nexus pours a dark black as a stout usually does. It’s not motor oil thick, but it moves on the slower side of stout. It poured with about two fingers of light brown head that slowly went away, which goes against my recent experiences with big barrel-aged beers that offer little to absolutely no head on the beer. The beer doesn’t stain the glass with color, but more with a clear alcohol stain that slowly slides down the side of the glass. None to minimal highlights are present.
Aromatically, Double Barrel Nexus represents an impressive mixture of the barrels used. Chocolate, vanilla, brownies, and a slight coffee roast come from the stout. The port barrels provide sherry and grape notes, with some light cherry, raisin, and prune notes supplementing. A certain oakiness comes through from spending a year and a half in barrels, as is to be expected. An intoxicating aroma, it reminds me of Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Ops in that it smelled so good that I really didn’t want to drink it.
Tasting the beer could give you a pretty good guess of which barrel got more aging time. Tannins, berries and a dry, wine-like finish dominate the flavor profile. That chocolate, vanilla, and brownie note you get on the nose becomes a backup singer, peeking out every so often to belt out the chorus but otherwise remaining in the background. There’s even some tartness in the finish. The sweetness remains in check as well; surprising based on the label, but not on the nose. The tart and fruity portions of Double Barrel Nexus meld very well with the more stout-like chocolate and vanilla aspect of the beer. The dry finish is distinct and unique as well. Double Barrel Nexus is a well-made and expertly barrel-aged beer.
Except that it’s not my cup of tea. I’ve had both stouts aged in wine barrels and double barreled stouts like this one and the balance is not what I prefer. On a beer like this, I like when the stout aspects shine – the chocolate, vanilla, bourbon notes, and oak. Then the port barrel can swoop in and cut the sweetness a bit while adding some delicate fruit notes and some bitterness. Double Barrel Nexus switches it up and, while it’s not a beer for me, a wine drinker would definitely prefer it to a saccharine sweet stout. I can appreciate its construction, but I can’t get behind it’s execution. That being said, I’m still on the lookout for creations from Third Space Brewing, 4th year and beyond.
Third Space is currently only available in Wisconsin. You can order for curbside pickup here