Friday, July 24, 2009

Schlafly Reserve Barleywine-Style Ale (2007)

Jimbo got this brew as a Christmas gift this past year, and has been trying like hell to fight off the temptation to drink it while it was aging, but six months was all he could manage. Of course, he needed reinforcements for this bad boy because, well, we all know the testicular fortitude of James.

A very cloudy thick brew with very little head, a deep luscious amber brown color, similar to the color of the sap that the mosquitoes were trapped in in Jurassic Park, but we digress...

Smell: A basket full of fruits, grapes, peaches, raspberries, and a little bit of honey, the smell doesn't suggest heavy "I'm going to hang you by your balls" barleywine, it almost reminds us of the fruity ice and sweet wines, very subtle hints of oaky nuttiness, but you really need to search for it, almost no hop scent, very surprising for a barleywine.

Taste: OAK!!!!!!! Holy crap, that's where it was hiding. As we took our first sips, we stared at each other and simultaneously said, in our best Keanu Reeves impersonations, "Woah, oak." We have completely different smell and tastes because that ice wine fruity scent has disappeared from the taste. Some spiciness, but the oak flavors just take over any hop bitterness that could be there.

Mouthfeel: A big deep beer with a dry finish, definitely a sipping beer, well carbonated for the style, aftertaste finishes you off with a faint alcoholic tingle, our tastebuds are starting to become overpowered the more we drink it, and the dry oak taste leaves you wanting some water.

Drinkability: Even though it says its ready to drink when its bought, we would recommend aging it a year or two longer. Jimmy aged it over 6 months and we still feel it has a long way to go before all the flavors and bites mellow. At 10.2% abv, you definitely wouldn't want more than one to end your night. Compared to other barleywines, aged or not, this one ranks pretty low, especially with its ready to drink claim. We give it a 6.5/10.

Glass type(s): Duvel and Chimay glasses
Serving type: Bottle (1pt. 9.4 fl. oz.)

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