It’s Independence Day and I decided to dig deep into the beer fridge to see what I could find. I pulled out this big barley wine from Sam Adams that I think I’ve had in there since about 2012. I think it was part of a 3-pack of Sam Adams big beers for the holidays back then. My dad was visiting, so we just relaxed on the couch and watched fireworks while I sipped on this big beer.
Location: Poured into a TEKU style pint glass from the 22oz bottle at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 10% ABV, ~400 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s dark golden-amber in color and is fairly hazy with a huge, creamy white head on it. The aroma is extremely malty with some sweet, honey-like smells.
Taste & Feel: As you would expect, it’s very full-bodied and – after nearly a decade in the beer fridge – very smooth. Up front it has a nice, sweet and malty flavor with a bit of booziness. In the middle, the booziness fades a bit, giving way to an even sweeter and richer maltiness. In the finish, the sweet maltiness gives way slightly to a bit of a butterscotch-like sweet undertone. There’s a hint of hop bitterness, but the maltiness is big and sweet, and lasts for a minute or so in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This is a big beer that can easy be a meal in itself, but if you do pair it, go with something equally big. I like to pair big sweet beers like this with a contrasting flavor, such as a savory steak.
Overall Impression: As expected, this was a big, full-bodied beer with a lot of sweet maltiness. Perhaps after being aged for nearly a decade, the hop flavors faded even more, making it additionally sweet and malty. Also as expected with aged beers like this, I did pick up on a bit of oxidation. Overall, it was a very good beer, and I enjoy the big malt bombs when I’ve got nowhere else to go. Happy July 4th!