Is Barleywine Cool Yet? | Barncat Artisan Ales

Score: 79/100 - Good

From a 355ml can served warm at 16 degrees Celsius into a TeKu glass. Canned on 08/OCT/2019 - making this just short of a year old. The beer was released just over a week ago and I was there to pick a few new brews for my fridge. Given the style and the brewery my expectations are high.

Appearance (5/6)

The beer pours a clear ruby brown with 3cm of thin, puffy, beige head which dissipates into a partial film within 1+ minutes. Decent lacing with fair head retention. Not bad for a barleywine.

Aroma (19/24)

Strong intensity with good balance. The aroma is powerful and highly vinous. There's a significant jammy, port-like character of cooked berries (blackberries + prunes + muscat grapes), oak, and alcohol. I assume this is all barrel mixed with oxidation. Mild caramel and a nutty quality round out any edges. A hint of leather and sherry give away the age. No apparent hop aroma. Unfortunately there's noticeable acetaldehyde (green apples + cidery) in the aroma. The dry nose is very malty, reminiscent of biscuit, brown sugar, and low dried fruit.

Flavour (32/40)

Follows the aroma with strong intensity, sharp-ish balance, and assertive perceived bitterness. The palate opens up with a vinous, berry-like character, apples, and booze making way for a loaded center featuring notes of blackberries, cooked red plum, brawny oak, perfumy sherry, mild caramel, and a splash of alcohol. The long finish is strong and bitter-ish with notes of almonds, brown sugar, alcohol-soaked dried fruit, and oak.

Mouthfeel (7/10)

Medium body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is on the thin side with considerable alcohol warming and a medium-dry finish. Mild astringency with a slight edge on the palate. This is just ok.

Overall (16/20)

Barncat Artisan Ales' Is Barleywine Cool Yet is a good beer regardless of the detectable fermentation byproduct. Decent appearance - especially for a barleywine. The foam lacks density and retention but that's to be expected of a beer of this caliber. The aroma is exceedingly vinous reminiscent of a port wine. Discernable acetaldehyde intercepts, however. The flavour follows: rich dark/red fruit character with elevated alcohol, a touch of brown sugar sweetness, and dry cider. If someone served me this and called it a fortified wine, I'd probably believe them if it wasn't for the carbonation. The mouthfeel leans toward thin and surprisingly dry for the style. I believe this would stand out if there was no acetaldehyde and it had more viscosity and more residual sweetness on the palate. Overall, I find this worth trying regardless of technical faults as it offers an interesting, off-kilter flavour experience. Next up? Hops.

OMG, read another breview!

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