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Review by joe1510 on 11/25/09  
 
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
90 3 10 18 5 9 2009
2009

I got this one a few months back from the man, d0b, thanks bitch! I have to pour this puppy with some height to conjure up a slow growing khaki head. When the bottle is empty the head sits at one finger in height atop a deep brown body with heavy tones of mahogany. When lifted to the light the body shows surprising clarity and a bright ruby glow. Carbonation bubbles creep from the bottom of the glass and pick up speed as they rise, eventually keeping the head in place throughout the drink. Sheet lacing splashes down the sides of the glass and shows great staying power.

Damn, this is a fine smelling barleywine! It’s sweet right off the bat with loads of toffee and brandy soaked raisins. The nose is so sweet and rich it nearly puts me in a diabetic coma of pure bliss. Mild but noticeable candied citric notes come through the middle and the bourbon barrel adds notes of vanilla and spicy oak. Rich brown sugar, caramel, and a soft sweet note of bourbon make for a deeply complex nose on this English barleywine.

The flavors complexities are on par with those of the nose and may even surpass them. This barleywine starts off already in its prime. Deep, rich caramel and toffee wash of the tongue and stick around through the entirety while a lasting flash of the sweet candied citrus come through mid-palate. The bourbon barrel characteristics and dark brown sugar bring up the rear. Spicy oak and soft vanilla combine with rich brown sugar and mild but sweet bourbon. There’s a touch of alcohol heat on the swallow that adds complexity instead of detracting from the overall flavor. This beer is a gem.

The weight is on the heavier side of the spectrum with a tongue and cheek coating viscosity that leaves me tasting this beer a minute or two after each drink. The carbonation seems soft on the front and middle of the tongue but the back has a surprising frothiness, well as close to frothiness as a beer this heavy could have. The aftertaste is highly enjoyable and seemingly everlasting.

A bottle of this is easy to kill by myself but it is without a doubt a sipper. The sheer complexity, depth, and viscosity keep me drinking this slowly and would limit me to one with each sitting. With all that said I will slowly and greedily drink this bottle all to myself and love every last drop.

Central Waters can do no wrong with their special releases. This is a gem from a lineup full of gems. Next time I’m up north a few more of these bottles will be picked up without a doubt. I can’t recommend this enough if you’re a fan of English barleywines. Thanks again for the bottle, Dave!

Reviewed: 11/24/09

Served In: Pint Glass