Tag Archives: barley

Simplicity

I’m on a simplicity kick.  Nothing for a total of ten beers (only successfully completed and drank beers) can be in any way complicated.  My reasons for this are a few in a row of very so-so beers that were also too complicated to be able to accurately trouble shoot without doubt.  So it’s KISS only from here to a while from now.

My lager came out good, that’s one.  It was merely golden promise plus cascade, and it’s damn tasty.

I’ve got a couple Munich SMaSH beers going too.  One’s a petite saison smash with munich and citra, one’s a regular old
US-05 munich/cascade smash beer.  Also got a super simple stout planned with 90% 2-row, 10% roasted barley, and Irish ale yeast, for a super simple dry Irish stout.

Also got a blonde ale that came out fantastic (again!)  Reasonably simple beers that I’ve done before successfully are IN as far as my simplicity kick goes. Elderberry wheat may be repeated shortly too.

When you realize that your simplest beers are usually your best, then you should consider going on a simplicity kick.  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

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Queen’s Limited Release Wheatwine from Texas Big Beer

I knew Texas Big Beer had another beer coming out soon, and now it’s out.  And it’s gooooood!  Very nice, a tasty wheatwine/barleywine hybrid, but it’s really more of a wheatwine.  And it’s a big, topping off at 11.39% ABV. 

It pours an orange, almost red color, kind of a deep amber.  The head and lacing weren’t that impressive, but there’s ample carbonation, giving it a creamy mouthfeel that’s almost chewy. 

Aroma is this one’s strong point, with a great fruity, floral treat for your nose.  Flavor begins with a solid malt/wheat backbone, a good balancing dose of very floral hops, and plentiful fruitiness. 

Very enjoyable, hats off to Texas Big Beer once again.  I can’t wait to try their new IPA that’s coming out!

Queen’s Wheatwine

 

Bigfoot Found!

It’s true!!  Bigfoot found!!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale 2013 is in my local grocery store, and I picked up a four pack.  Such an amazing brew!  This is the definition of barleywine if you ask me.  Although a bit hoppier than most barleywines, I haven’t found one that I like more.  Well, Dogfish Head Olde School is pretty damn awesome too, but that one is kind of a different beast: it’s got way more alcohol, for one thing, and isn’t comparable to bigfoot ale.  Although both brews are fantastic, this post is about Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot ale, so we’ll stick to that!

I’m going to post my original review from more than a year ago, along with my edits for this year’s vintage:

Bigfoot!

Downright gorgeous to look at, deep amber with copper notes, clear, with a great 3 finger head that lasted forever and laced the glass with sticky chunks.

More like an IPA in the nose, hops are dominant and the typical barleywine smells are secondary. Piney and even grapefruit hops are pungent. A little caramel malt and a little fruitiness provide something other than hops as a side note.

Taste is bold and again, very hoppy. Tastes more like a barleywine than it smells, but still, this one is quite a bit like a DIPA in the taste department. The hop profile is just dominant as hell, this fact cannot be hidden. Fruity and caramel malt flavors do balance out the taste more so than the smell though, and overall it’s quite nice!

The body is thick and tangy but the alcohol is surprisingly well hidden. The hops even leave a bit of a bite on the aftertaste.

Honestly, this is a fine barleywine, albeit a lot hoppier and a bit different than I’m used to when I buy a barleywine. I really like this stuff. I can’t wait to see how it mellows. I’ve put a bottle away for a year, and another for two years, will re-try it again next march (and the one after that) and report back.

I really like trying new beers, and I hadn’t had this one yet. Overall I’d list it as “must try” Excellent job, SN!

Edit for 2013: once again, they nailed it.  The original review is more than a year old, but now I’ve had 5 different years of vintages, both aged, and for the more recent years, fresh.  Every time it’s just fantastic!  Gold standard of barleywines.  Monstrous hops and tons of delicious malts, one of my favorite beers anytime, from any brewery.  If I decide to try and brew a barleywine, it will be based on this!

Cheers to Sierra Nevada for 2013 Bigfoot Ale!

 

Bigfoot Found!

Boulevard! Harvest Dance Wheatwine

Boulevard Brewing, from Kansas City, is some awesome stuff!  Today I’m having one of their smokestack series, Harvest Dance Wheatwine.  I love this stuff!  Wheatwine isn’t a very common style, and I think I’ve only actually ever had a few examples of the style.  But the ones I’ve had are delicious!  Especially this one!

http://www.boulevard.com/BoulevardBeers/harvest-dance-wheat-wine/

A very delicious beer indeed.

Wheatwine pours a beautiful orange-ish tan color, just a little hazy, with a wonderful white head that lasts forever and leaves great lacing.

Fruity and spicy on the nose and taste, with great citrus and floral components as well.  Hops aren’t real forward, nor should they be for this style, but they’re pleasantly accenting of the taste and aroma.  Honestly, the commercial description pretty much describes the beer perfectly:

John Barleycorn is memorialized in English folk tradition as the personification of the barley plant, sacrificed at harvest time and then reborn as beer or ale. Our Harvest Dance Wheat Wine is a celebration of John’s Midwestern cousin, wheat. Beginning with a large portion of wheat malt, we add an equally generous helping of Hallertau and Citra hops and age the ale on both French and American oak. The result is a big, warming burst of tropical fruit flavors, highlighted by subtle wine-like notes, and rounding slowly to a long, dry, oaky finish.

I am not one to take anyone at their word on what I should think of a beer without trying it myself, but this description is pretty accurate (and I’ve had this beer multiple times).  Boulevard isn’t blowing their own horn on this one, this beer actually is really good!

Citra hops, eh?  I just brewed with them for the first time today.  Haven’t tasted the results yet.  My next blog will chronicle the event (it was an odd brew day, fittingly for citra, which has so much myth and hype around it, lol).

Why not toss in a nice bit of music to listen to whilst enjoying this delicious beer?

If you like wheatwine, or if you’re just a fan of great beer, you should try this beer!

Old Ruffian Barleywine

Well time for another Great Divide brew, today it’s Old Ruffian, a delicious barleywine!

Rating a 99/98 on ratebeer, and a 95 on beer advocate, this is a very well liked and highly rated barleywine.   Let’s find out whether it’s worthy of all those high ratings!

Pours a deep amber color, a bit hazy, with a fairly small head but ample lacing.

Aroma is deeply fruity, with lots of mid and dark fruits coming through, figs, plums, raisins, some honey and brown sugar too.  There’s also a plentiful degree of hoppiness that lets you know this is a bold and potent brew!  Alcohol is notable.

Flavor is very deep and rich, with tons of great malty flavors coming through right away.  Caramel malts, grainy bready flavors, nuts, brown sugar, molasses, and rich dark fruits come through first, followed by an intense hoppiness that creates something almost “balanced” (LOL, if that’s even possible with barleywine!).

It has what I consider to be the quintessential property of a barleywine… it’s pungent!  I love the pungent malt/hop interaction that leaves your mouth puckering from the intense malt flavors.  To me, it’s very distinct to the barleywine style, and this barleywine has it in spades.

Body is very thick and full, leaving a fruity, resinously hoppy finish.  Alcohol is warming and noticeable, this is clearly a strong beer!

My overall impression of this beer is that it’s amongst the top barleywines I’ve tried.  I think my favorite ever was Bigfoot Barleywine by Sierra Nevada, and this one isn’t too far off from that.  Great job Great Divide!

If you like barleywine, definitely try this one!

 

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