Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Barghest Barleywyne - Big Rock (Canada - Alberta - Calgary) 9.5%

 Barghest Barleywyne - Big Rock (Canada - Alberta - Calgary) 9.5%

A dark fruit aroma (plum) sort of like a port, ginger bread (ginger and molasses), rye bread and just a bit spicy. A very dark brown or amber colour in a glass, depending on the angle.

Lots of dark fruit flavours, molasses and a bit of spice that has me thinking of ginger; the combination of molasses and ginger has me thinking gingerbread in turn. Powerfully malty but balanced to the point that it is dangerously easy drinking and though it is not bitter I'd say it's only moderately sweet. Truly an extraordinarily balanced beer.

A really nice, smooth, wine-like and slightly thick (without being viscous) mouthfeel with only light carbonation. More molasses as well as many chewy malt and bread flavours in the aftertaste. It is easy to overlook the hops but they're definitely there (how else could it be so well balanced?) with some high, faint green notes and some subtle wood tones that reinforce the impression that your drinking a wine made from barley.

The alcohol took my breath away at first along with such a strong and interesting collection of flavours. I want to be careful to point out that because Barghest Barleywyne is so well-crafted you don't taste the alcohol, not with so much else going on in this delightfully flavourful beer, but that you can feel it tingle on your tongue and warm your chest.

I drank it around 10 to 12.5 degrees Celsius and would suggest that's perfect temperature, though I'd rather have it warmer than cooler: I always feel it is better to err on the side of warmth with a Barley Wine. There is some light sediment at the bottom of the bottle that doesn't seem to make much of a difference to the taste if some of it makes it into your glass.

Barghest Barleywyne is one of the best examples of a Barley Wine I have had: the balance is truly impressive. If you are in the Calgary region make sure you go out and pick up one of these, they only made 3000 individually numbered bottles so I feel quite privileged to have gotten my hands on bottle 1376. And speaking of the bottles, these wax-sealed and individually boxed little 275 ml beauties are the perfect way to present a beer that so much care obviously went into crafting.

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