Hof ten Dormaal Barrel-Aged Project (any)
Belgian strong ale, 12%
Tildonk, Flemish Brabant, Belgium
"This barrel-aged project was started with the US drinker in mind," explains Brandon. According to the brewery (which, by the way, is a farm that self-sustainably produces its ingredients), the aging program incorporates all sorts of liquor-soaked barrels: jenever, grappa, Scotch, etc. Brandon likes the Madeira. "They took their blonde ale and aged it in Madeira casks. It's very low in carbonation & deceivingly light, and the Madeira appears in the finish to add tremendous complexity." The agings vary year to year, so you're not always going to be able to grab his favorite varietal, but no matter which is released, it clocks in at 12%, and Dormaal "guarantees all the flavors in the beers only come from the barrels". In other words, no matter which you get your hands on, it'll be a December treat to remember.
(Note: shown here is Dormaal's Donker, because the barrel-aged stuff is just that hard to find.)