Rock Art The VermonsterOctober 26, 2016
Nose gives pine and a mellow toffee malt, telegraphing a chewy, intense taste trip. Cola notes. The hops bring piney goodness, like resinous sap dribbled into the glass. Faint whiffs of sweet, solventy alcohol. Not as chewy as expected on the tongue. High bitterness mellowed by malt: bitter greens rather than a sharp, mineral or metallic note. Alcohol warmth simmers on the tongue after you swallow. That, along with the blooming bitterness, gives the impression of a pulsating buzz—or maybe that’s the cicadas outside my window and the effects of tasting this beer on an empty stomach. Very drinkable for a beer of this strength!Ray Daniels is the founder and director of the Cicerone Certification Program and the author, editor or publisher of more than two dozen books on beer and brewing. Follow him on Twitter @Cicerone_org.
If a hangover were a cloud that enveloped your head, this barley wine would be the color of that haze. Ruddy tobacco brown that captures most light, even around the edges, capped with a café au lait head. Rather than being thick and chewy, it’s smooth and boozy, going down a little too easy. Sweet cherry and pipe smoke aromas with fresh caramel, hints of coffee and brown sugar. What’s surprising is the hop content. Bits of grapefruit and pine ring clear, making this many things to many drinkers and why I’ve just opened a second bottle.John Holl is the editor of All About Beer Magazine.