Captain Swing | Microbrasserie Hopfenstark

Score: 94/100 - Outstanding

From a 473ml can served warm at 18 degrees Celsius into a TeKu glass. Canned on 15 11 2022 - making this two months old.

I picked up the can recently from a local specialty store after having originally grabbed one sometime early December 2022 in order to write about this beer. The details are blurry, but I ended up enjoying Captain Swing without deeply assessing it. A handful of weeks later, I knew I had to say something... because it stands out.

Appearance (6/6)

The beer pours a clear copper with 5cm of moderately dense, frothy, tan head which dissipates into a craggy cap within 3+ minutes. Good lacing and head retention. A great looking brew.


Aroma (22/24)

Strong intensity with good balance. The aroma is malty, perfumy, and enticing.

Pleasant floral tones and perfumy alcohol provide a counterpoint to significant earthy-woody hops. Deep malt character of bread crust, biscuit, caramel, and mild nuts forms the center while gentle dried fruit, butterscotch, and orange marmalade add colour. There's a pleasant tea-like quality and barely any perceptible oxidation. At times, the alcohol can have a slightly solventy note.

The dry nose is strong and pleasant with notes of toasted bread, mild hay, low woody-earthy hops, and a touch of butterscotch.


Flavour (38/40)

Follows the aroma with strong intensity, great balance, and assertive perceived bitterness.

The strong palate opens up floral and tea-like with notable caramel-sweetness and boozy dried fruit making way for a toasty-bready center also loaded with floral tones, perfumy alcohol, mild herbs, firm woodiness, caramel, and mild citrus.

The long finish is strong and balanced with notes of dried fruit, toasted bread, orange marmalade, caramel, herbaceous-woody hops, earth, and alcohol.


Mouthfeel (10/10)

Medium-full body with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth, mouth-coating, and round with noticeable alcohol warming and a medium-sweet finish. No astringency or harshness on the palate even though the impact is heavy.


Overall (18/20)

Microbrasserie Hopfenstark's Captain Swing is an outstanding barleywine.

Great appearance sets the stage for an incredibly English aroma with significant hop-contribution. The flavour follows with loads of character and smashing balance while the mouthfeel compliments sippability with smooth yet heavy texture.

Overall, Hopfenstark's Captain Swing is a beer worth seeking out. It's loaded with character, balance, and perspective. I'm only missing a certain wow-factor which would truly place it in the top 1%. If you find a can, don't hesitate picking it up. Barleywine is life.

OMG, read another breview!

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