Vanilla Barley Wine - Flying Monkeys (Canada - Ontario - Barrie) 11.3%
This magnificent barley wine is a dark cloudy brown in a glass (a pint glass!) on the Patio at the Arrow and Loon in Ottawa, with a creamy and resilient head of foam.
The aroma is straight vanilla at first but also toffee, caramel and sticky malt that comes to dominate. Some oaky wood tones, a bit of leather and some sweet espresso/coffee with milk added.
A creamy mouthfeel with caramel, vanilla, leather, smoke and mild wood flavours. Sweet initially with alcohol tones (though not as strong as you might expect from a beer that clocks in at a whopping 11.3% ABV) but the taste shifts (although it does so, so smoothly that it's much more like a glide) to a bitter finish and an aftertaste of barley candy. Overall, this is a really nice barley wine: sweet but balanced, malty, boozy and delicious featuring some very nice vanilla.