ACBW Vintage Barleywine (Karl Strauss Brewery)

With American Craft Beer Week starting this weekend brewers are starting to release beers to commemorate this wonder time of year. Karl Strauss has decided to break out a couple kegs of their 2011 Barleywine.

ACBW VINTAGE BARLEYWINE is an English Barleywine a 9.5% ABV and 50 IBUs.

Aged just for American Craft Beer Week, our 2011 vintage English-style Barleywine has rich toffee flavors, undertones of dried fruits, and a sweet, warming finish. 

The beer arrived in a snifter glass that was full to the brim. It was a lovely garnet color with ruby highlights present along the sides. The head is a layer of toupe foam that quickly fades to a swirl of film.

Booze flooded through my nostrils before the glass was even up to my face. Rum, sherry, and red wine are all noticeable. Brown sugar and toffee rounds out the nose, but is very muted in comparison to the alcohol.

The booze is still present in the taste, but not as big as the nose would imply. It starts with a rummy ice tea flavor (I wonder if that would be good???). A bit of honey shows up next before sliding into some sweet toffee and brown sugar flavors. The flavors kinda fall apart as it warms, so I would suggest drinking this one while it’s still relatively cold.

Mouthfeel is light, but the booze is noticeable. It evaporates quickly, but leaves a tinge of alcohol behind to remember it by.

It’s been a while since I’ve had this beer. The first time I had it was when my friends and I were still new to the craft beer world. Two of us drank a pitcher of this beer and definitely felt the effects of our naïveté. Now having tried the aged version of this beer, it seems to have not only upped the alcohol, but also made the flavor more cohesive. Now I wonder what this beer would taste like on cask.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

As an ENGLISH BARLEYWINE: 7.5 out of 10

FOR FANS OF: Anchor OLD FOGHORN, Alesmith OLD NUMBSKULL, Iron Hill BARLEYWINE ALE, 

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