Barleywines are generally the strongest style of ale, with an alcohol content to rival most wines. In fact, it is this high alcohol content coupled with extensive aging which contributes to the very complex nature of our Blunderbuss. A beverage such as this is meant to be savored and appreciated much like a fine brandy or cognac, or, in the world of wine, a fortified sherry or vintage port. (But a barleywine is all beer!)
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The process of creating our barleywine began by cramming our mash tun to overflowing with American and British malts. We then extracted only the richest first runnings from the mash and boiled extensively to further concentrate the sugars in the wort. During the boil a touch of honey was added to the kettle, along with six varieties of hops to provide balance for the sweet malt. Fermented in stainless it was then sent to the CBC Barrel Cellar where it aged in a quartet of Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for months of slumber.
The result is well worth this painstaking ordeal. A creamy, pale tan head rests atop this beautiful amber liquid. Captured within the rim of a snifter, the first aromas to greet the nose are of alcohol’s fruity esters and warmth, then rich caramel, and sweet malt. As it warms, more distinguishable notes of burnt sugar and toffee, hints of vanilla and coconut, and oak are detectable. The flavor more than meets the prelude of aromas. Its rich, full body contains notes of sweet caramel, tart flavors of berries and dried fruit, and a subtle herbal hoppiness. This is finished by warming alcohol and a lingering finish with hints of vanilla, coconut, toasted marshmallow and oak. This ultimate after-dinner drink pairs well with many desserts, but is also certainly a dessert in and of itself.
Alcohol by Volume