A big thanks to my buddy Russ for trading me this bottle. You told me that this would be one of the best beers I will ever have this year and you’re probably right. Shared this one today with Kyle and a few other people at the Ballast Point 12th Anniversary Fest.
Pours a vibrant brown color with some ruby edges. Thin head on top with a skim ring on the edge.
Wow, lots of bourbon notes, raisins, brown sugar, and molasses are the first things I detect. Lots of sugary goodness in this beer, caramel and candied yams. This beer has a complex malt profile.
Again, wow. Dark fruits, cherry, sweet strawberry, and rum soaked raisins. Caramel and butterscotch in the aftertaste. Milk chocolate becomes more apparent after it warms up. The beer develops more of a nutty profile too, with roasted almonds in the aftertaste.
Such a smooth beer for 14.5% My only complaint would be that the finish is a tad too sweet. Still, this is one of the best, if not the best barleywine I’ve had so far. I easily took 20-25min finishing off my sample of this, I just didn’t want it to be over.
Originally reviewed 12-27-2006
Incidentals: Bottle released as part of Winter Solstice party. Shared with BiL. Bottle stated ABV of 12.5%.
Appearance: Very deep red, and absolutely no indication of any sediment in the bottle or poured glass.
Smell: Oh, my! Has the bouquet of a fine port or scotch. This is quite the aroma-filled "beer". Non-beer drinkers in the room were even intrigued and had to sample it to sate their curiosity.
Taste: I haven't been writing these reviews for very long, but this is the first reviewed beer that I've given this score to. This is truly a special beer; the bourbon barrel aging has really taken the "mediciny" bite out of the alcohol and replaced it with a very warm, rounded taste. It is strong, and a very good example of the style.
Mouthfeel: Barleywines have a "chewiness" to them, and this one is no exception. You really know its there, and can almost feel the oily bourbon texture.
Drinkability: Clearly not something that you're going to have a large quantity of, unless you are masochistic. This is a pre- or post-dinner drink of the highest order.
Food accompaniment: Smoked cheese and crackers. Would go very well with a cigar.
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