dsc01166So here’s the deal with my barleywine. It’s beyond massive.

Like the hops somehow crept up on the intense grain bill, overpowered it, threw it to the ground and started beating it in the face with a sappy pine cone soaked in grapefruit. I’m not counting this as my formal review, but after only two weeks in the bottle this 11.5% ABV barleywine is about as intense as it gets. Probably more because it’s such a young, “green” beer at this point as opposed to a refined, well-matured cellared ale. I can only imagine what this will be like a year or two from now once it has a chance to settle down and blend together.

Poured with a beautiful billowing head, and a nice chestnut coloring in a snifter. The alcohol is potent as can be, interlaced with the huge hop aroma that hits you right from the get-go. There are some beers that give you a big hoppy nose, then peter out in the taste. But this follows up with an even more intense hoppy bitterness that I’ve rarely experienced. Half an hour after enjoying it I kept burping up whole hop leafs. The malty sweetness has a tough time competing, but it’s there. And after only half a glass of this stuff, I was definitely feeling it.

I am very impressed with how well, and quickly, this one conditioned in the bottle, a testament I’m sure to the 200 ml of yeast starter I added to the bottling bucket before I capped them off. The second yeast addition really did its work well in the face of such strong odds. How I haven’t had bottle bombs I’ll never know.

I’m going to do my best to keep the rest of these safely tucked in the dark corner of my cellar where they belong for at least another year. Like Sauron’s ring…lost and forgotten. Left unattended and readily available out in the open, my barleywine could do some unsuspecting beer drinker some serious harm.

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