Our Rye Barrel-Aged Barleywine started it’s journey as our 10.5% ABV Barleywine (called Strength in Numbers) before being aged for many months in a rye barrel that was formerly used to age red wine! This is a big, smooth beer with aromas of cherry & vanilla and flavors of caramel, raisin, red wine, prune, and cherry.
Sometimes we find that barrels will subtlety enhance a beer – amplifying a flavor or two – or maybe adding one new dimension. With this beer, however, we get to bear witness to the multifaceted, magical alchemy of beer exposed to wood. While you can tell that the base beer was our barleywine, the barrel adds easily detectable flavors and aromas of whiskey and oak. If you sip slowly on this beer and ponder the many layers of flavor, you should also be able to also pickup underlying notes of mild cherry and red wine. All in all, using such a complex barrel has resulted in a beer with many nuances and flavors that we all quite enjoy!
Here are our tasting notes…
Aroma– sweet caramel, Belgian sugar and spice, rye whiskey, with a hint of jammed fruit
Flavor – when you first take a sip, your palate will be coated with a lovely sweetness of caramel, golden raisin, and fig, followed by the many layers of flavor imparted by the barrel- oak, mild tobacco, grape must, a peppery tangy-ness, and, finally, warming notes of rye whiskey
Color- the beer is a gorgeous, glowing, orange-amber color with an off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly, which is common in a beer of this high of an ABV
Mouthfeel – Despite the ABV of close to 12%, this beer drinks very smoothly and features a medium body with a high viscosity
Pairing – To us, this is a bottle you simply crack open with a friend, sip, and enjoy. (Side note: It’s definitely a sipper, and, based upon my silliness after only having consumed 4 ounces, it’s perfect to share with a friend or a loved one!) That being said, if we had to pair it with food, we would suggest cheddar cheese and aged gouda, our burger (with the caramelized onions), and fried chicken (we think the salty crispiness of the chicken skin would make a wonderful complement to the sweet warmth of this beer). You can also snack on some salted nuts, too!
Notes on Aging – Aging beer is always a gamble. However, we can often tell what is worth a gamble and what is not. While the vast majority of our Rare Breed beers are perfect for aging, we feel that this beer would be best drank fresh. The tart tang imparted by the barrel might become amplified over time. We think that the beer has the perfect amount of tang and sweet now, so, we say drink it now!