Big thanks to Joe1510 for pulling out the big gun to start our pre Dark Lord Day â€™10 tasting. Iâ€™m not one to review beers at tastings but Iâ€™ve had this beer a handful of times but never was able to jog down accurate notes. Drank from a Goose Island taster.
Appearance- Pours a murky reddish brown with a delightfully perfect one finger creamy tan head. A decently small cap and collar remain along with enough spotty lacing on my girly ass cup to keep me happy.
Smell- Full of rich butterscotch and tons of caramelized sugars. The entire nose is filled with yeasty brown sugar and some dark booze soaked fruity hops. Wooden heaven is more like it as the wood is full of vanilla and toasted coconut. The bourbon is noticeable but nothing over the top. It seems that the oak has gotten more potent over the 1+ years since the release.
Taste- So rich and caremelly as every sip is filled with butterscotch, molasses and burnt sugars of every kind. A slight sweetness that isnâ€™t anywhere near cloying as a raisin and plum dark fruit character shows. The wood is bold and delicious as itâ€™s full of vanillin and lightly tannic amongst all the other big bold flavors. The booze is hidden very well as the finish is dripping in English Barleywine goodness.
Mouthfeel- On the heavier side of the spectrum with super light carbonation that aids in the silky smooth creaminess.
Drinkability- Hands down the best beer Iâ€™ve ever had and Iâ€™m not really a huge Barleywine fan. I enjoy them, and appreciate them but I can think of 10 styles off the top of my head that Iâ€™d much rather drink. Everything just comes together so well to make for an epic drinking experience in this one though. Iâ€™ve loved this beer since the first time I tried it at the Chicago Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers â€˜08 when (having never heard of it before) it was easily my own personal best in show. Itâ€™s an absolute shame this will never be made again (or anytime soon). Thanks for sharing Joe!