Profiled by Ken Carman
83 BA, 3.7 UnTappd
I must admit: I’m old school. To me this is too much like a double IPA. But it was submitted as a Barleywine, the cans even said that. Oh, I understand: the newer BJCP guidelines over the years have upped the hop level in barleywines, making me miss the maltier, sweet barleywines; like I’ll Have What the Gentleman on the Floor is Having. Making hops a bigger focus in barleywines to me is a mistake. Yes, you have to increase the hops for balance. But if I want “hoppy” I would go DPA. If you want to make a distinction let’s talk East Coast/West. DON’T %$#@ with my beloved barleywines!
Appearance: longstanding big pillow head with a few small bubbles. Great glass coat. A slightly dark yellow with relatively good clarity. Bitter approaches a little too much astringency.
Nose: hint of caramel malt, more pale and hops. A sweet orange-ish and zest-like sense behind that.
The mouthfeel is caramel and slight fresh hop-like sense under the very dominant bitter side to the hops. A tad more bitter than caramel. More caramel malty than most barleywines these days. Hop bitter lingers, fruity orange-ish tangerine mix fades fast, obviously hop driven. More early additions would have helped hop perceptions, less late. The bitter becomes annoyingly astringent after a while. I’d enjoy one glass but not go back for a second. And if I like barleywine I always go back for a second! Higher abv be damned.
Although I prefer the more sweet versions of old, and the astringency is annoying for me; especially in this style, I feel this is well crafted and enjoyable. I would have given it a 4.2 if it had been an Imperial/Double IPA, but even for the newer Guidelines over the years I feel it just a tad overboard. As far as Imperial I understand my comments are a matter of taste. But I stand by my Barleywine concerns. Even if hops should be the focus, this is DIPA focus.
NOTE: Only after I wrote this did I discover the beer sites list it as a DIPA. Not sure what happened here.
Readers: for now we are using only BA since InBev owns Rate Beer. We may get UnTappd but their site security is done with something that resembles a bad version of Candy Crush!
Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”