Barleywines are big beers, and in my household they are commonplace. There is nothing like settling down after a nice dinner with friends and enjoying one of these big beers over conversation. I feel that is what they are made for. Let’s take a look at Stone’s offering, and see how it stands up to some of the other brands. Enter the Old Guardian…
After warming the beer up for a bit, just during the course of dinner, it pours like a good barleywine should; a nice ruby coloration and sticky, foamy head that dissipates on it’s own time frame. The beer has a pleasant, faintly sweet aroma, which is also there in the taste. But that is not all. The beer has a great, familiar Stone hop flavor, mixed with some malt sweetness, and candy sugar flavors. Not over the top sweet like some barleywines, and also not over the top hoppy, this beer is a delight. The beer finishes up with a nice warm alcohol feel, that reminds you that this beer is big, 11% ABV big. Drink a few of these and you will feel like you have been banging your head against a tree, maybe like this guy:
Again, barleywines are one of my favorite styles, and this beer ranks up with the best. I would put it, flavor-wise, in between Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot and Great Divide’s Old Ruffian. Definitely in the top tier of barleywines. This is a great beer that should be enjoyed slowly, or that 11% ABV will remind you that you are not a woodpecker, with their special adaptations to keep them from getting headaches. Regardless, well done Stone, always a pleasure!
Yesterday I took out my wife for her birthday lunch at our favorite restaurant in our little burg, Padrino (Check them out here. Not only is their food top notch, but their beer list is one of the best in the Cincinnati area. Anyway, once inside the restaurant, I glanced at the taps and spotted something that I had not seen before. Enter 21st Amendment’s Lower DeBoom Barleywine:
If you remember, I first noticed 21st Amendment with their winter seasonal, Fireside Chat (Review here). Definitely a tasty brew, which got me interested in the brand. This beer, however, was completely off of my radar. Here is why:
This beer is part of their “Big Can” series, which basically is a keg only, three times a year or so release of a limited, small batch beer. Luckily, Padrino scored a keg of this monster, here are my thoughts…
The beer pours into your snifter like most barleywines, with a ruby hue, topped off with a decent sized, almost creamy head. Flavor wise, this barleywine delivers. Nice fruity flavors blend with malt goodness and hints of toffee, finishing with a nice bit of alcohol. Easier to drink than Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot, or Anchor Brewing’s Old Foghorn. Not knocking those two beers, but this beer is special. The flavors blend so nicely, and more start to show themselves once your glass has warmed a bit. I found myself wanting a second glass, but since it was my wife’s birthday lunch I had to refrain, luckily for me since this beer is around 10.5% ABV.
This has been a solid barleywine from 21st Amendment, and one of the best that I have had. This beer ranks up their with Great Divide’s Old Ruffian for me when it comes to the style. I will be heading back to Padrino to have some more of this delight. Well done!
10 days of riding. Tonight was probably the hardest to get on the bike, due to the temperature hanging around the mid 20s, and me being chilled all day. Very low motivation to get out and ride. But, what fun would that be?
Continuing with the night rides, I finished off the week with a ten mile ride along the Little Miami path. Beautiful, clear night for riding, with the moon almost full. Lots of light from the moon, and with the Magicshine, the path was like riding in the daylight.
I am amazed more and more at the quality of the Magicshine. For it’s relatively low entry fee, it is quite amazing. And to top it off, the battery life is not too bad either. Great deal if you happen to be looking for a bicycle light!
Relaxing into the night with a 2011 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, ride before work tomorrow morning…
Enjoying a 2010 Bigfoot! Absolutely amazing how different this beer is once it has aged for a year. Once the bottle was opened, the sweet smell of a Barleywine style hit me in the face, much stronger than last year. I am pumped to finally have a beer cellar!
So the turkey holiday is now over, Christmas soon after, my plan is to cut back my beer consumption quite a bit. While I do enjoy a good brew, I feel that I just need to take a small break from it. My plan is to just have one, at maximum, good beer per week. This is pretty tough, since it is my favorite time of the year for seasonal brews. Another part of my plan is to stock up on beers to put away in my cellar. Anyway, that is my plan, just to explain why there has not been any beer posts lately.
From the holiday weekend, had a couple interesting brews:
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Ale. This was an amazing beer. It was a mix of their Celebration Ale, Pale Ale, and their tap room only Oak Aged Bigfoot. It was a smooth, flavorful beer. It was also around 9.2% alcohol. Heavy. Everyone that had a taste agreed that is was pretty amazing.
I also tried out the Sierra Nevada Estate ale. This was alright. For the price, I would probably not buy it again. To me, it seems that it is just an organic version of their Pale Ale. It is pretty cool however, that all of the ingredients were grown on their own property. I would drink it again if they just made all of their Pale Ales in this manner. Basically phase out the Pale Ale they now produce, and only make it organic. That would be cool. It did have a pretty bottle though.
Those were the only beers that I had the chance to drink over the holiday. I was pretty pumped that I did not drink as much as I have in the past on such occasion. Now I am going to focus on storing some beers. Some that I am planning on putting back:
Sierra Nevada 2011 Bigfoot
Stone Brewing company 10-10-10 vertical epic
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary ale