John Barleycorn 2009 Barleywine AleJanuary 1, 2011 Blue Lake, CA
Mad River Brewing Co.
Blue Lake, CA
Available: AZ, HI, NC, SC, CA, KY, OH, IN, WA, MA, MN, OR, MD, PA, VA, MT, NE, NJ, FL, OK, GA, IL
The first beer to be identified as “barleywine” was Bass No. 1, a strong ale brewed in England around 1900.
Original gravity: 1100
Some beers are nearly as delectable to look at as they are to drink, and John Barleycorn 2009 falls into this category. Pouring a glowing gemlike orange that seems to glow from within, it sports a lacy ecru cap that lingers well into the glass. The alcohol is present in the aroma, but it gracefully mingles with cherry, a touch of oak and other fruits. As the beer warms, it grows in complexity, revealing a deftly balanced barley wine with a big malty presence and enough bitterness to keep things interesting. Always an anticipated barley wine, this “cellar reserve” version is a special treat.
- Lisa Morrison
Tawny amber, I am able to coax a one inch beige head on the pour. I steal a bit of the foam, and it is oily and resinous and coats the side of my snifter. The nose is volatile and has just enough background cookie caramel to offset the airy, citrus hops, raspberry esters, and warm alcohol. Medium-light in body, it has a load of hop flavor backed up by nutty, bready malt and notes of maple and fruit. This 2009 version has a little winey oxidation and a woody, earthy finish. Well-crafted for those who prefer their barley wine on the dryish, hoppy side.
- K. Florian Klemp
Lisa Morrison, aka The Beer Goddess, writes about beer whenever she can and also gets to talk about it on a weekly radio show in her hometown of Portland, OR.
K. Florian Klemp
K. Florian Klemp is an award-winning homebrewer and general hobbyist who thinks there is no more sublime marriage than that of art and science.
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