I haven’t had any good Barleywines lately. I’ve tried a few that were a bit lackluster, but none terrible or off putting. So I was craving what I typically think of as a barleywine – thick, sweet, alcoholic. And boy did I get what I was looking for.
Tasting it, I was not dissapointed. The flavors include the alcohol sting of a barleywine, a wonderful warm soft sweetness, and a spicy note that is a delight. It also has a bit of hop flavoring through it, which is nice, and a nice touch (since I’ve been drinking such malty brews lately). The bottle I tried was also dated, and labeled as an “limited early 2008 release” released in January of last year, so this is about a year of aging. I think that the flavors are just right at this point. Stone’s website says that aging further mellows the alcohol sting and that this one can age with the best.
Its rare to find a strongly flavored yet not overwhelming barleywine. I think that this is an example of what can be done when a brewery like Stone puts their beer-centric minds towards it. Go get this one, it should be widely distributed.