Hog Heaven is a dry-hopped Barleywine from Avery Brewing Company. This pig…I mean big beer has 104 IBUs, a 9.2% ABV is available year-round in 22 oz. bottles and on tap.
Yep you’re in Hog Heaven! An unbelievably huge explosion of sweet malt tempered by 9.2% ABV and 2 1/2 pounds per barrel of Columbus dry hops. OINK!
Hog Heaven pours a light copper color with plenty of carbonation pushing it along. This is noticeably lighter in color than I would normally expect from a Barleywine, but the bubbly two inches of tan that sits atop it is right on the mark. Lacing hangs like ivy on the side of the glass.
The nose also helped to abate my worries about this beer. 104 IBUs is a lot of hops and it’s hard to hide that in the nose of a beer. Heavy pine hops dominate the nose of this beer, coming through the minute that the cap is popped. A caramel sweetness and big alcohol presence are also present, with the beer ultimately reminding me of smoked wood with ice tea.
Everything that you would expect from a Barleywine was showcased in the nose of this beer and I was hoping that the same would be said about the flavor…and I wasn’t disappointed. The flavor starts off as a hop bomb, alcohol comes through in the middle, with a caramel-ly malt sweetness balancing out the end. As the beer warms up the flavors become more cohesive and not so separate.
With the combination of the big hops and caramel sweetness, it’s all but guaranteed that this beer is gonna be sticky and it is sticky. The surprisingly thing is how light the overall body of the beer is, especially considering how big everything else is. The alcohol heat is big in this beer; quite possibly the most I’ve ever encountered in a Barleywine.
Hog Heaven is a big beer and I mean big. When you pick up a beer that has the “credentials” that this one does, you must expect big hops, big malts and big alcohol. Sadly, until this beer starts to warm up/mellow down the alcohol can be a little too big and may impair your enjoyment of this beer. I’d suggest that you allow this beer to sit for a minute before imbibing.
Overall: 7.5 out of 10
As a BARLEYWINE: 7.5 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Sierra Nevada BIGFOOT, Dogfish Head OLDE SCHOOL BARLEYWINE, Great Divide OLD RUFFIAN