It’s my birthday weekend, and despite the fact that it has been raining, it has been a nice, relaxing day. I’m watching college football and decided to crack open a beer. Since we don’t really have anything going on, I thought I’d break open this big 10% ABV barleywine I picked up at the Tangled Roots brewery a few weeks ago.
Location: Poured from the 32oz crowler into a TEKU pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 10% ABV, ~400 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s a deep, dark copper-brown color, almost like a dirty penny, except it’s clear and not hazy. It had a creamy tan-colored head that fell quickly to a thin ring around the edge of the glass. There’s a toffee-like malty aroma with an earthy-spicy hoppiness and a hint of a lager-like sulfur smell.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium and the mouthfeel is quite crisp from carbonation. It has a malty sweetness up front with a red malt-like sweetness and a bit of earthy-spicy hoppiness. In the middle, the malty sweet richness picks up, but the earthy hop bitterness comes up to surpass the sweetness slightly in the finish. It’s the maltiness and earthy spicy hoppiness lasts for a minute or so in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: With the malty sweetness and earth-spicy hop would I think this would complement a mushroom Swiss burger perfectly – with the maltiness mixing perfectly with the bready bun and contrasting with the savoriness of the burger, and then the earthy-spicy hoppiness would pull out the earthy flavors of the mushrooms.
Overall Impression: I thought this was a decent barleywine that was quite drinkable. The rich caramel-toffee maltiness was more subdued than other, more bold barleywines I’ve enjoyed. Although not as hoppy, it almost reminded me of a bigger version of a couple of the red IPAs I’ve had. Because of the medium body and drinkability of the beer, I’m betting they used cane or turbinado sugar to bump up the ABV. Overall, it was a decent beer, and very drinkable for it’s high ABV, but in a barleywine, I think I still prefer something that’s a bit bolder in flavor.