Old Cunundrum aged in Brandy Barrels (FiftyFifty Brewing)

I decided to save the biggest FiftyFifty beer for last, probably not the best idea, but whatever. When I ordered the Barleywine I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they also had a brandy barrel aged version on tap, and as we all know you always go with the barrel aged version.

FiftyFifty Brewing logo 2OLD CONUNDRUM is an American Barleywine aged in Christian Brothers’ brandy barrels. It clocks in with a 9.8% ABV.

Old ConundrumA showcase of malty richness and complex intense flavors. One of the strongest beer styles that will be sure to warm you down to your soul. 

The beer pours a rich mahogany color that allows zero light penetration. Head is but a wisp of white.

Right out of the gate brandy spinning wheel kicked me in the olfactory sense. It’s real big. Like REAL big. I some how also managed to pick up notes of paint thinner (alcohol), banana, raisins, and figs.

Taste is right back on the brandy train. After that we get appearances from figs, bananas, and raisins. The middle brings on a delicious red apple flavor that completely won me over. Some of the traditional Barleywine flavors of sweet tea and toffee appear, but are overshadowed by the fruitiness mentioned above. The booze is noticeable in the backend, but not nearly as bad as I expected from that overpowering nose. Shockingly drinkable.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and smooth. There’s no major stickiness or residue, but there is a faint heat. The mouthfeel, like the taste, is much smaller than I was prepared for.

This beer is smooth. I was given a taster of the original Barleywine and I must say that the brandy completely takes over and changes everything about this beer…in a good way. The sweet fruit flavors are amazing and make the drinking experience that much better. I would love to try a version of this that had a few extra months/years to sit and age. This brandy barrel version of Old Conundrum was the highlight of my beer trip and arguably the best brandy barrel aged beer I’ve ever had.

Overall: 9 out of 10

As a BARLEYWINE: 9 out of 10


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