Drinking an 18-Year-Old Barleywine, or (The Effects of Aging Beer)

Anyone that is into properly aged beer, whether they dabbled with a 6-month-old stout or curate a beer cellar going back decades, can tell you the exact beer that started it all for them. For me, it was a 2009 Avery Mephistopheles I drank in 2012. The velvety mouth feel, mellowed booze, smoothed out bitterness, and heightened caramel made it a near perfect experience.

Since then, I’ve cultivated a small, but hand-picked, group of beers that I look forward to diving into soon, because really what’s the point of aging beer if they’re just going to be unearthed in the year 2145 by the roving hordes of Lord Humongous and converted to fuel. I intend to enjoy them while civilization and I still stand.

With that in mind, I delve deeper into my hobby of not drinking beer and secluding it in the dark like Paul Dano in Prisoners, and turn to the studies of smarter men than me to determine just what is going on inside that bottle. To apply this knowledge, I also drink an 18-year-old Barleywine to taste nearly two decades worth of science. Here’s what I found.

Continue reading “Drinking an 18-Year-Old Barleywine, or (The Effects of Aging Beer)”

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Sierra Nevada – Bigfoot (Whiskey Barrel-Aged) 2015 Review

Sierra Nevada - Barrel Aged BigfootAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing
Style: Barleywine (American)
ABV: 11.9%
Cost: $20 (24oz)
Glassware: Teku!, Snifter
Temp: 55°F
Availability: From Time to Time
Purchased@: Hunger-N-Thirst

Quick Take: On first sip, my mind was set on giving this a firm pass, especially at $20 a bottle. But, a simple change refocused my taste buds and I found a rather enjoyable beer swimming in vanilla, brown sugar, coconut, and whiskey heat, though the hoppier elements of Bigfoot are lost. While I’m lukewarm on whiskey barrel aging in general, this is one of the more successful I’ve had.

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Last Week in Untappd – 11/24 – 11/30 – (The Untappening)

CaponesWell, it finally happened.The day I anticipate in a continual 364 day loop, that most wonderful of beer days, Black Friday, has come and gone and I think we took full advantage of its bounty. In the past, this meant waking up at the crack of 9 and sheepishly making our way to Capone’s in Norristown for a solid 6 hours of drinking in an atmosphere that can best be described as a bar from a bowling alley crashed into a 70’s diner and someone hung up Vaseline smeared TVs from the 80’s. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Not that I see much else beyond the beer list, looking to see what’s kicked and trying to anticipate what’ll kick next as I order 4 or 5 beers at a time. Yes, Black Friday is Capone’s day for me. Except for this year…

A detour to find the highly-coveted Bourbon county Vanilla Rye (we failed) eventually took us to Teresa’s Next Door Black Friday Sour Event and to indulge that artisanal siren call that is Tired Hands before ultimately arriving at the threshold to Capone’s. We were successful in getting a 4pk of BCBS, a bottle of Avery’s Tweak, and 2 bottles of Abyss. Not too shabby. Here are the best of the best from a full day of rare beer drinking and Untappening (20+). The Tired Hands beers will be coming in a separate piece as a follow up to my original brewery visit.

Cantillon Fou FouneCantillon – Fou’ Foune
Location: Teresa’s Next Door
Style: Lambic
Score: 4/5
Original Comment: Metallic, tropical, lemon/ orange acidic, slight dank yeast aroma, Salty/sour sting front, tongue raking mineral, dry, biscuity fin. Good

Additional Comment: The final part of my original comment that I didn’t have room for is “…but not great.” I don’t always understand the hype behind many of Cantillon’s offerings. They are typically good but no better than any other expertly crafted sour I’ve had. This is the first where I feel like I had a fleeting glimpse of something special even if the overall experience didn’t wow me.  I will admit that knowing Fou’ Foune is the highest rated sour on Beer Advocate (#14 as of this publishing) brought some expectations with it. I think a blind taste test could yield interesting results, but I don’t have the bank account nor the resource to make that happen. Glad I had it and definitely a tasty sour, but in the future I’ll probably pass over it for something new.

Continue reading “Last Week in Untappd – 11/24 – 11/30 – (The Untappening)”

North Coast – Old Stock 2013 Review

Old Stock 2013All You Need to Know

Brewery: North Coast Brewing
Style: Old Ale
ABV: 11.9%
Cost: $4.34 (12oz)
Glassware: Snifter
Temp: 50°F
Availability: Fall
Purchased@: Brass Rail

Quick Take: Although not the most complex beer, North Coast’s Old Stock excels at being one of the best, if not the best Old Ale that I’ve had. I have to admit a bit of fatigue as I drank this due to the strength of the malt and my feelings about very malt forward beers, but I can recognize everything this gets right. Great beer and one I imagine will become a go-to beer for the toffee/malt fans out there.

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Thirsty Dog – Wulver Review

WulverAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Thirsty Dog Brewing
Style: Wee Heavy
ABV: 12%
Cost: $12 (12oz)
Glassware: Thistle (Yup, thistle)
Temp: 43°F (Yup!)
Availability: Limited
Purchased@: Iron Abbey

Quick Take: Wulver strikes me as a classic version of the Wee Heavy style that has been expertly aged in bourbon barrels. What it does is take on a difficult style and nail a fantastic beer. It actually makes a bolder statement by brewing this in a conventional way and barrel aging it into a straightforward success that demands your attention rather than getting overly playful and trying to distract with gimmicks.

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