There was a time when the Mountain Goat team would mark milestone birthdays by brewing a larger, celebratory version of their first beer. Thus there was the Double Hightail at 7.2 percent ABV that first appeared when they turned ten then returned as they became beer teenagers (beernagers?). And when they hit 15, there was Triple Hightail, which nudged things a little further along to 8.3 percent ABV.
At 20, they did things a little differently with the excellent Back To The Brewer Double Steam Ale, and now as the quarter century approaches it's back to the beginning with the biggest Hightail variant yet. It's taken quite a while to reach kegs and cans too: most of the base beer was aged in Cognac barrels for five months, with a portion spending time in Pedro Ximenez barrels so awash with sherry the brewers managed to extract a dozen bottles' worth of the stuff. The two streams were then combined as one in a 10.2 percent ABV beer that's as reminiscent as some of the brewery's best barrel-aged barleywines as it is Double or Triple Hightail.
It pours very dark and with a murkiness not unlike like gravy or the Yarra water that flows not far from their home – but if that sounds less than appealing, it’s all uphill from there. Try to imagine the point where a dark spirit and coke RTD meets Belgian dark strong ale and you're on the right track. Densely malty – chocolate, cola, toffee – and fruity too, in the manner of rum-soaked dried fruits with ripe bananas swirling in their midst, Hightail XXV is pillowy in texture and, while the experience is a far cry from Hightail '97, it's a delicious way to honour the OG Goat beer and the brewery that helped kickstart Melbourne’s craft beer culture.
Published May 16, 2022 2022-05-16 00:00:00