It’s Super Bowl Sunday and we’re staying in from the cold and cleaning house. I figured it was time to take a break and have a beer. I’m trying to clean out the beer fridge, since we might be moving soon, and this is one of the bigger bottles in it. I bought this in a mixed 3 pack of these Sam Adams specialty beers last Christmas. My friend Travis bought the same pack and said the barleywine could use some age, so they’ve sat in the back of the beer fridge since then. The bottle says, “Ale brewed with juniper berries and aged on juniper berries.”
Location: Poured into a curved pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 7% ABV, 16 IBUs, 30 SRM, 235 Calories
Numbers: Malt: two-row pale malt blend, Rye, Special B, and aromatic malt; Hops: Hallertau Mittelfrueh; Other: Juniper berries
Appearance & Aroma: It’s mahogany brown in color with some reddish highlights. The head is khaki colored and creamy, falling after a minute or two to just a thin layer across the top. There’s a caramel malt aroma with some hints of juniper/pine.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium and the mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy. Up front is a dark bread flavor that’s slightly sweet with some caramel maltiness. In the middle, the flavors reverse with the sweet caramel growing and the dark bready flavors fading back a bit. In the finish, the flavors balance back out with the addition of some earthy, woody, and light juniper spices. The aftertaste is caramel maltiness giving way to dark bread flavors that fade over a minute or so.
Food Pairing: This beer has mostly caramel maltiness and dark bready flavors, and I think they would pair perfectly with a seasoned streak, or a prime rib.
Overall Impression: I think this beer mellowed quite a bit over the last year, as it was pretty malt forward. The juniper flavors were very minimal, adding more of an earthy flavor to the finish. Overall, it’s a good, uniquely flavored beer, and I’d like to see how it tastes fresh compared to being aged.