I got two of these sent my way from two of the best traders around and both of which are named Derek, thanks hoppymeal and errantnight, you two are incredibly generous! The wooded version of Fred has a bright ruby body with enough haziness to make seeing through the glass tougher than normal. A small head of white foam subsides rather quickly thanks to the high abv and barrel aging but the collar leaves sticky lacing all down the glass.
Huge caramel notes kick things off with an underlying fruitiness of pear, plum, overripe apple and cherry. There are notes of sweetness coming from every direction to the point I can't put my finger on many of them. Freshly chopped oak and vanilla cradle the rest of the aroma in a nice little pouch for my nosebud's pleasure.
The flavor follows the nose with all sorts of malty goodness. There are fistfuls of fruit in this beer; peach, pear, apple, cherry... the list goes on and on. Caramel maltiness lays down a firm foundation with a little toasty breadiness thrown in for good measure. Fresh cut oak and vanilla, again, wrap the other flavors of this beer up perfectly. This is what I look for in a barleywine.
The mouthfeel fits well and makes this huge BW easier to drink but a richer, more velvety mouthfeel would top this beast off beautifully. The body leans toward heavy and has a bit of stick with some drying on the finish, still excellent.
I could drink a couple of these in a row. That would also cause mucho problemos considering the huge abv in this beer. The booze is barely noticeable and that makes this, pardon the clichÃ©, dangerously drinkable.
Fred is a gem, Fred from the Wood is a rockstar. This beer can hold its own with some of the best barleywines out there right now. Thanks for the two bottles guys and the addiction that they led to.