So, we are in the second week of our “shelter in place” during the Coronavirus epidemic. It’s been a busy couple of weeks at work, as we work to get all of the people where I work online to be able to work from home. After working through the weekend last weekend, it was time for some time off. I took today off and after a trip to the grocery store, mostly lounged around the house. This evening, we watched “Tiger King” on Netflix and I cracked open a few beers. After a Hopslam and a St. Bernardus Abt 12, I found this beer in the beer fridge. I received this beer as part of a 12 pack from Sierra Nevada for their Beer Camp Across the World series in 2017. Since this was a barleywine, I thought I’d sit on it for a bit, and tonight was finally the night ot crack it open.
Location: Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect pint glass from the 12 oz bottle at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 9.4% ABV, ~360 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s deep copper in color, almost like an old penny with burnt orange highlights when held up to the light. It’s fairly hazy with a thin, creamy, khaki colored head that stuck around for quite a while and left a little bit of lacing on the glass. It has a malty aroma with some earthy hoppiness.
Taste & Feel: The body is full and the mouthfeel is smooth. It’s pretty malty up front, but it’s not necessary sweet, as it’s balanced with an earthy, lightly-spicy hop bitterness. The bitterness fades a bit in the middle, and the maltiness has a little bit of a toffee flavor with hints of nuttiness and earthiness. The bitterness comes back up in the finish with a good amount of earthy-spiciness. The earthy-spicy hop flavors last for a few minutes in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: The big malty and earthy hop flavors of this big beer needs something big and flavorful to pair with it. As I drink this, I think a mushroom-swiss burger would be perfect, with the maltiness complementing the bun and burger, and the earthiness the mushrooms complementing the earthy-spicy hops.
Overall Impression: Even after a couple years of cellaring in the beer fridge, this beer still had a lot of flavor. To me, it was like a hoppier, bolder version of an English barleywine. It had more hop flavor and bitterness than I was expecting after a couple of years, which really balanced out any sweetness that you expect from a barleywine. Overall, it was exactly as advertised and expected, however, the barleywines I like tend to be slightly sweet, and this one leaned a little more toward the bitter side.