Brewer: Banayad Craft Brew (Philippines)
Style: Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (Base style: American Strong Ale)
Review Year: 2021
Maton is the latest offering from the Manila-based Banayad Craft Brew and is an American Strong Ale conditioned with oak cubes soaked in whisky.
This beer is being evaluated as a Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (33B) with the American Strong Ale (22B) as the base style in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website.
Clear medium amber; moderate off-white head with good head retention. The initial aroma opened up with moderate oak, cacao nibs, and coffee. Low notes of alcohol, citrus, and fruit (pear, lychee) surfaced as the beer settled down. Hop aroma is present but not distinct. Medium-full-bodied, moderate carbonation with low astringency (puckering quality). The general flavor profile is malt-forward with a bold bitterness. Specifically, a moderately strong oaky/woody note melded with equally intense caramel malt flavor and bitterness. Modest piney hop flavor. Off-dry finish, with low sweetness still present. The aftertaste lingered with cacao nibs, bitterness, and fruit esters (lychee). No alcohol warmth, but a very subtle oxidized (sherry-like) character was noted.
Maton is an approachable interpretation of a beer style that appeals usually to more seasoned drinkers. As an American Strong Ale, this beer really showcased the malty backbone the style is known for. The hop character felt one-dimensional and seemed to have contributed mainly to the bitterness of this beer. This, however, is not necessarily a flaw.
Maton is not just a standard American Strong Ale as it was also brewed with oak cubes soaked in whisky. The whisky flavor may not have surfaced explicitly, but the wood character did and it contributed to the complexity of this beer. As to the noted low astringency and sherry-like quality, these are attributes that can be expected from beers aged or conditioned on wood. All in all, Maton is an excellent concept, but the next versions could still showcase much more diverse hop flavors. Enjoy this over steak or lamb.