ClubGonzo’s Old Lovage

Barley Wine, 11% ABV, 50 IBU.

ClubGonzo’s Old Lovage, batch 42.

Looks good right after the beer has been poured, but the head is too short-lived.

I tend to prefer hoppy American interpretations of beer styles over dull British ones. When it comes to barley wines though, I’ve had several inspired by the Old World traditions that I’ve enjoyed very much, so let’s see if Old Lovage fits in that category.

It pours a hazy, very deep brown body with a small, beige head that doesn’t leave much lacing, and that soon reduces to a fully covering film.

The aroma is malty, sweet, sugary and strong, with truckloads of dark caramel. Also dark dried fruits and honey, and in the back I find chocolate and some very overripe generic fruity notes.

Strong flavour of sweet caramel, roasted malt, dark dried fruits and somewhat stinging alcohol. Further behind there is bitter chocolate and liquorice. The taste is heavy sweet and the long-lasting finish is moderate bitter.

The texture is smooth and pleasant, it’s a full-bodied brew with a soft carbonation.

Conclusion: pure malty goodness, with minimal hop influence. Just like a British barley wine is supposed to be.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.5/5.0

S & M Brewing Teenage Computer Barley Wine

Barley Wine, 11.5% ABV, 45.6 IBU.

S & M Brewing Teenage Computer Barley Wine, batch 3. Photographed inside a Mac Pro cabinet.

S & M Brewing Teenage Computer Barley Wine, batch 3. Photographed inside a Mac Pro cabinet.

Batch 3 from S & M Brewing is a potent barley wine. It pours a cloudy, deep brown to copper body, with a creamy, dense, beige and long-lived head that ends up as a thin layer.

Strong aroma of caramel, lightly roasted malt, dark dried fruits and stinging alcohol. In the back I get overripe generic fruity notes, chocolate and honey.

The strong flavour is very much on the caramel malty side, there is very little hops in the flavour, but it has a good bitter bite in the long finish. Also orange and liquorice. I’m not sure if it has enough hoppy flavours to be called an American barley wine? It’s also very alcoholic, it’s stinging and boozy, but there are no solvent or unclean notes.

It has a fantastic mouthfeel (ignoring the booze), with a full body, oily texture and soft carbonation.

Conclusion: too boozy, too little hops but a nice caramel maltiness. It kept growing on me, so I finished the bottle with pleasure. 

 

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.2/5.0
Trying to copy the picture on the label...

Trying to copy the picture on the label…

JoKr Brewers Rye Wine

Rye Wine by JoKr Brewers, Barley Wine, 10.4% ABV, 52 IBU.

One of my favourite beer styles is barley wine, and I think rye often makes a good beer even better, so let’s go!

JoKr Brewers Rye Wine, batch 23.

JoKr Brewers Rye Wine, batch 23.

It pours a very viscous-looking, slightly hazy copper body with a tiny head that disappears fast. However, for each sip I take a new tiny layer of bubbles is produced, so in that the respect the head actually is fully lasting. Not much of the foam sticks to the glass, though.

The aroma is a bit faint with mainly sweet malty notes. There are some spices in the back, e.g. traces of anise seeds, and I also get hints of honey and a whiff of alcohol. Quite unusual for the style, I really miss the intensity and notes of e.g. sweet caramel, dried fruits and overripe fruits. This is too dull, even for a British barley wine!

It looks like a barley wine.

It looks like a barley wine.

The flavour on the other hand is rather strong, as it should be in a barley wine, but unfortunately the strongest flavour is alcohol. More so, the alcohol is sharp, medicinal and solventy and not very pleasant at all. The alcohol has its upsides though, it makes the finish pleasantly warming. Other flavours include light spices (mainly anise seeds) and sweet malts, but again there’s a lack of fruitiness. The taste is moderate sweet and moderate bitter.

The Rye Wine has a fantastic creamy and smooth mouthfeel with a soft carbonation, the texture is almost syrupy and the body is definitely full.

Conclusion: a far too alcoholic and unclean beer that doesn’t have the qualities I like in a barley wine. The only thing I really appreciated with this one is the pleasant mouthfeel. My co-rater (yep, my father-in-law again) has the following conclusion: “smooth start followed by disappointment and bitter liquorice”.

 

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    9/20
Ratebeer score: 2.6/5.0

JoKr Brewers The Day After

The Day After by JoKr Brewers, Barley Wine, 11.8% ABV, 67 IBU.

I’ve rated no more than two barley wines on ratebeer.com, one of them being the barley wine/DIPA hybrid Nøgne Ø #100, so here I’m really on thin ice… But as always I judge a beer according to how much it pleases me at the moment, not if it’s true to a predefined beer style or not.

The Day After

The Day After aka. Test Batch 07. Looks good, right?

JoKr Brewers The Day After

JoKr Brewers The Day After

The Day After pours a clear and very dark brownish red body with a small, beige head that reduces quite quickly to a thin layer. This layer is fully lasting, and manages to lace my glass somewhat.

The aroma is strong, sweet and powerful, this is a serious brew that isn’t for the faint hearted! It has a complex fruity profile with both dried dark fruits and fruits that are fresh, yet overripe. There are also some delicious and well integrated vinous notes, and finally I get a light spicy touch.

The Day After back label, with some serious warnings. I always do what I'm told, so I let the bottle stay in my beer cellar until May 2013.

The Day After back label, with some serious warnings. I always do what I’m told, so I let the bottle stay in my beer cellar until May 2013.

The taste is moderate sweet and the finish is moderate bitter, long-lasting and very warming. The flavours are of moderate strength, I would have liked them to be stronger, and they are mainly on the malty side. The alcohol is in the front, but in a very pleasant, clean and vinous way that enhances the other flavours. Fruits, sweet caramel, a Jägermeister-like herbal spiciness and in the back some traces of liqueur filled chocolate. The bitterness and the alcohol fight for my attention in the finish, and I’m actually not sure which one these that is the main contributor to the warming, almost burning sensation in my mouth. I assume it’s the alcohol, but it may also be that the beer is more bitter than I initially thought.

The beer is very softly carbonated, but there is a faint fizz of micro bubbles that prickle my tongue as I drink, very elegant and pleasant. The body is full and the texture is oily.

Conclusion: A massive brew, thanks to the pronounced sweetness, bitterness and warming alcohol. Somewhat stronger flavours would be appreciated, I mean, other flavours than pure alcohol.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:   13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.5/5.0