Saturday, September 5, 2009

2 Year Old Barleywine

A wonderful surprise on a coincidental two year anniversary. A few days ago I opened a small bottle of the Barleywine brewed at the end of August 2007. It really took this long for it to mature properly.

This beer was made BIG. Huge 107 OG, and 123 calculated IBU's. The color is a deep saturated burnt amber. While young, it had much difficulty getting carbonated. It's "hot" alcoholic presence and intense bitterness, masked any flavor subtleties.

After 2 years, this monster brew is absolutely delicious! It pours a crystal clear deep amber/red with medium-light carbonation helping the formation of a ring of fine/smooth bubbles to hang around the edge of a New Belgium stemmed glass.

Both the alcohol and bitterness has mellowed just enough to allow some smooth maltiness to come through. With the level of carbonation pushing out the aromas and flavors, complex and rich malt and caramel notes blend nicely with subtle dark fruit flavors. I really like how the bitterness still held on, giving it the unmistakable barleywine taste.

This beer sure took a long time to mature to the point where I finally like it...rather love it. It was well worth the wait and stashing a few bottles into the far corner of the basement storage. There may only be one bomber left, but it will be awesome to share with close friends this Autumn.

Its funny...I usually don't care for this style, and rarely buy them, but knowing I can create one this tasty feels good. I will definitely make plans to brew another, with full intentions of aging, and perhaps experimenting with subdivided gallons on oak and hops. With two years more experience, I also have tweaks that should make an even better barleywine.


Muddy Mo said...

What is the explanation for the hop bitterness persisting after two years?

Ted Danyluk said...

Uhm, it had 123 IBU's in it! Bitter & at 10.5%, it had the right stuff to age well into 2 years, and still have some bitterness and full flavor.

A lighter beer, with even a good amount of hops, would taste dull and have a stale sweetness after 2 years.

Muddy Mo said...

I guess starting with that much bitterness would make a difference. Thanks for the info, much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

bitterness persists, aroma not so much