APPEARANCE: Dark, hazy, reddish brown
HEAD: Big-bubbled, frothy beige head that dissolves immediately
LACING: Spotty, but lasts throughout the drink
NOSE: Not as bold or complex as many barleywines, but very pleasant. Caramel and toffee mixed with cognac or brandy. Plus a surprising hit of piney hops. Little alcohol noseburn…surprising for the style, but hardly problematic.
TASTE: Big, low-attenuated sweetness up front and a lot of fruity esters in the middle (which I somehow missed in the nose). Definite alcohol bitterness in the finish, but it’s masked a little by the hop profile. Again, it doesn’t have the labyrinthine complexity of many barleywines, but it’s got a nice, well-balanced flavor.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium bodied and a little oily. Actually lighter than most barleywines.
DRINKABILITY: For the style, fairly high. The alcohol is well-hidden and the mouthfeel isn’t overly heavy. It’s not as interesting as other offerings in the style, but this is an intelligent, well-made beer. I enjoyed it.
RATING: 3 Hops