Old Blarney Barleywine Style AleMarch 1, 2009 Novato, CA
Available: CA, NV, CO, AZ, WA, OH, MN, IL, MD, PA, VA, NJ, WI, MA, GU (Guam), BC, OR, AK, NM, SC
The first barleywine to bear the name was Bass No. 1, released at the turn of the last century. The name suggested this was a beer of wine-like strength.
Original gravity: 1092
Old Blarney pours bright copper in the glass with a lively, carbonated head that lingers through the tasting. A big malty aroma takes the main stage, with just a touch of piney hops and, no blarney here, a hint of something that took a while to pin down—Coca Cola! The resinous hops move closer to the spotlight upon first sip and join the malt and more than just a small dose of alcohol. The whole shebang lingers on the lips longer than a tall tale, making Old Blarney a great sipper during the course of a long, cold evening.
- Lisa Morrison
This barley wine is something of a paradox. It's chock-full of sweet, juicy, toffeeish malt flavors but the mouthfeel is surprisingly light and delicate. You expect beers of this magnitude to give you more to chew on. That's not to say that it's not a fine beer. The tangy overlay of biting hop resins and the throat-catching warmth ensure that Old Blarney, true to its Irish name, does have plenty to say, right through into the long, dry, bitter finish. It's just surprisingly quaffable for the strength. Let's open another!
- Jeff Evans
Morrison, aka the Beer Goddess, writes about beer whenever and wherever she can and also gets to talk about it on a weekly radio show in her hometown of Portland, OR.
Author of the Good Bottled Beer Guide and The Book of Beer Knowledge, Jeff Evans is an eight-time editor of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and one of Britain's best-known beer writers.
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