Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

Lagunitas – Gnarly Wine

OldeGnarlyWineTapLogoI picked this up (like a few other recent reviews) in California, and it made the journey home to the East Coast and has been waiting for me to try it. Lagunitas beers are not impossible to find out here, but I do leap at the chance to find a good brew “from away” every now and then.

On the label: “The first sip is for thirst, the second one for pleasure.  The third sip is for knowing, and the fourth for pure madness.”

Sounds like a good end to a long day to me.

The color on this is a nice bright orange, and the smell is that typical yet amazing barleywine sweetness. It has that caramel/sugar scent that just makes you want to inhale it forever. The hops come in there, too, but its secondary to the sweetness. The taste, too, does not dissapoint on the sweetness. I always struggle to describe barleywines – there’s a sugary element, there’s a warming bit of alcohol and a bitter reminder of the intense amount of hops. This is bliss. Its warming, sweet, and stays in your mouth for quite a while. A barleywine in every sense of the style.

I’ve had other Lagunitas brews, specifically their IPAs, and was actually overwhelmed by the bitterness. However, this barleywine is a great one -and one I’d go back to again if I could get it more readily. If you need a beer at the end of a long day to calm you down or to lull you to sleep – this is the one.


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  1. I have to say I was a bit disappointed by their IPA for the same reason… they overdid the bitterness and not the aroma and flavor which is what us hop-heads love…

    From your description it sounds like their barleywine is good although the best barleywines often have a dried-fruit character aside from the caramel-like malty aroma…

  2. Sounds great – never had a Lagunitas beer before but I’ve now got a bottle of their Wilko Tango Foxtrot that a mate of mine brought over to Blighty for me. I’ll be cracking that open sooner rather than later.

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