Barleywine tasting 101 - tips for engaging in an epic night of sampling.
- Anchor your system with food
- Stay focused
- Take notes as soon as you taste
- Use the buddy system
- Respect the Barleywine
Even as seasoned samplers drinking small amounts at a time, the alcohol catches up with you pretty quickly. Before you know it, the barleywine is consumed and you are distracted by other seasonals you may have in the fridge. Notes are harder to decipher as the evening wears on and access to your beer lexicon becomes limited. Check in with each other and don’t let your friends go home in the wrong direction or leave without their phone. And although Barleywine is the perfect treat for this festive season, take heed and show it respect or you will have barleyhead the next day.
Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller - smells of brown sugar, raisin, caramel, sweet malt flavour with a lingering bitterness, rich thick mouthfeel, lots of depth and character, alcohol is prominent especially as it warms.
Driftwood Old Barrel Dweller - intense aroma - bourbon and barrel, prominent bourbon taste as well with some oak and vanilla, very sweet and malty with a bit of fruit, nice bitterness, excellent richness and depth. A stand-out in this crowd.
Central City Thor’s Hammer - some caramel, malts, and raisins on the nose, prominent taste of raisin and dates, thinner mouthfeel and lower carbonation, bitter finish.
Mill Street Barleywine - butter and scotch aroma, big barrel taste of whiskey and oak with sweeter flavours behind (caramel, toffee), sweet, sticky and malty. This one wins for the beautiful ceramic bottle which no doubt informed the price.
Phillips Trainwreck - bourbon aroma, very malty with some sweet notes of toffee/caramel, dry finish and a thinner mouthfeel.
These are young vinous beasts so don’t forget to lay some down for your deferred drinking pleasure. Here’s a few more of our thoughts on Barleywine.