I seem to have amassed quite a large number of Barley Wines over the past few months, so the next five days will see an attempt to sample a few of the ones I've never tried before. 5 days, 5 different Barley Wines, 5 mini reviews - Should be fun!
I will say before I start that I'm quite particular about my Barley Wines. I like my BW to have lots of boozy goodness. It should also have lots of caramel malt sweetness - too much hoppy bitterness does not do it for me. I also like a little bit of a drying, fruity finish making it very moorishly drinkable. (think Anchor Old Foghorn - that's one of my favs.) These are just the things I really like out of my BWs - if you like it otherwise that's fine, this is just my preference.
To start off with I'm breaking out the Stronge Krause SK1. It's a collaboration BW from Quantum Brewery and Colin Stronge (formerly of Marble, now of Black Isle Brewery) This is apparently a Strong Amber Barley Wine and at 7.4% it looks a little darker than amber. It has a huge carbonation on it too, which is a little puzzling as I'm sure this bottle is getting on a bit now?
The 'generous' amount of Nelson Sauvin, Super Alpha and Motueka don't really shine through in the aroma, but I am getting a lot of fruit; apples, pears, a little mango and some grapes with tangerine and apricot. Some woody and burnt notes in there too, but it's on the swirl that the aromas are really starting to lift.
It's definitely boozy in the body for sure. My initial thoughts are it has a big bitter-sweet body with a little bit of acidity. Slightly winey with lots of oaky woody dryness. I'm getting a lot of dried fruit flavours, some burnt toffee, and it's all set a buzzing really with a high level of CO2.
It's an excellent beer indeed, but it doesn't really hit that sweet spot for me. It has the booze, it has the drying fruity finish but I would of liked a bit more sweetness in the brew and then I think it would have been perfect. That's just my opinion mind, and I will now take this upstairs to enjoy, and to see how it evolves as it warms up a little. (I'm already enjoying it more as I finish writing this - the warmer the better!)
See ya'll for more Barley Wines tomorrow!