Cambridge Arquebus
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RATINGS: 70   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.67/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 322   ABV: 10.75%
Summer Barleywine
Named for the 15th Century firearm which was successor to the Blunderbuss, this barrel-aged barleywine aspires to change the way you think of strong beer. Intended for sipping on these sultry summer evenings on our patio (or inside, with the AC), it is at once light and drinkable yet boasts significant body, and is almost syrupy smooth in texture without being cloying. Arquebus presents beautiful, complex notes of concentrated peach and apricot fruit, wildflower honey, toast and coconut oakiness, and a soft, tannin-hinted, white wine-like finish. Aged in French oak chardonnay barrels acquired from the Silverado winery in Napa, the residual flavors contributed by the wood offer a mellowness of character not provided by stainless steel fermentation.This honey-hued, ambrosial beer, beheld in a simple stemmed glass, pours with just a mild effervescence which accentuates its myriad nuances of flavors and aromas. Several more barrels of this elixir await release in the coming years. So for now, enjoy!
OG: 1.099 FG: 1.018 ABV:10.75%

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
TheEpeeist (3709) - Media, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 21, 2010
On tap at CBC. Clear honey brown with no head. Nose is caramel, oak and chardonnay. Medium body, not quite flat. Taste is quite vinous, white grapes overwhelming the malty caramel base. A nice sipper but not very complex. While abrupt at first, the pronounced wine-sweetness contrast grew on me.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
KyotoLefty (8748) - Kyoto, JAPAN - JUL 18, 2010
Draught at the brewpub. This was listed as 14%. Orange-copper color with no head or bubbles. Sweet, oxidized huge honey and caramel aroma with port and grape notes like a sweet Sauternes. Big alcohol. Syrupy and sour flavor with big grapes and honey, burning alcohol and oak. Doesn’t really do it for me.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
nickd717 (4000) - San Francisco, California, USA - OCT 6, 2009
Hit up the Cambridge table big-time at GABF 2009. This was a very interesting and somewhat impressive -bal aged barleywine. Pours a hazy orange-copper color with a medium off-white head. Aroma is sweet malt, milldly tart white grape, oak, spices, orange and apricot. Flavor is great and complex, both sweet and tart, with bready malt, dry white wine, spices, honey, oak, orange, peach, and even mild roast. Palate medium-light and smooth with soft carbonation. Overall very good.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
elihapa (1545) - Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - OCT 1, 2009
9/28/09 notes: 2009 GABF, Friday. What a fascinating beer. Pours murky brown-orange, but quickly becomes more interesting. Aroma is orange peel, rich caramel and kitchen spices. Flavors dance on the tongue nicely, hard to pinpoint. In a pinch, all one can say is that the flavor is unique. I think I got spicy, cinnamon notes blended with strawberry sweetness. Very well balanced. I enjoyed every sip of this, even though it is a tough beer to understand stylistically.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 27, 2009
GABF 2009: Settles in the glass like strange, green, muddy pond-water..or maybe dirty dish water. Little to no lasting head. Acidic white wine notes dominate the nose with some funky solvent underlinings tending to be sweet at times. Flavors bombard you with solvent, oak, and white wine with a steady sweetness underneath. I liked this to a point, but think its overly solventy and an ugly looking beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Quevillon (2800) - Boisbriand, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 17, 2009
Bu sur place et fut (9 oz), le 10 juillet 2009. Rousse caramel, pas de collet. arome d’orge malté, fruit sûrettes muries, un peu de réglisse. Goût de fruits sûrette intense, beaucoup de grenolats, loin d’être réchauffante. Une bonne bière forte avec beaucoup de saveur, faite pour l’été, ma meilleur bière local du voyage!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
Sammy (10565) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 15, 2009
Apricot colour, average mouthfeel. Brett in the aroma. Looks and tastes white grapey. Apricot summer fruit in there, you can taste it too. Can the Chardonnay be transfered for the wood, or was it used. Very fruity, sweetish. Enjoyed on tap at the brewpub, I am still revelling in it 2.5 days later.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
MartinT (8957) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 8, 2009
My Bottom Line:
White grapes and honeyed cereals benefit from this idiosyncratic Barley Wine’s malolactic finish to sculpt a wonderfully complex and personable flavor profile rounded out by sporadic alcohol splashes.

Further Personal Perceptions:
-A thin ring of foam circles the cloudy honeyed amber.
-Carbonation is low, making the link with wine even more obvious.
-The wild (bretty?) and acidic finish manages to be refreshing despite the sweet flavors found upfront.
-The fruitiness is pleasant, but could have been more defined for this to be world-class.

On tap at the brewpub.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Glouglouburp (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAR 16, 2009
Note on this rating/batch: This rating is for the version served at Boston Extreme Beer Fest 2009 described as “brewed w/ local Cambridge honey, Gewürztraminer and Voignier grapes, barrel fermented and aged in French oak chardonnay barrels” . Probably different from the regular version.
In short: Flavour wise: a cross between a beer and sweet-wine. Nice sweet fruity sipper. But a Barley Wine?
How: Tap at Boston Extreme Beer Fest 2009
The look: Cloudy golden body topped by a medium off-white head
In long: The last of too many ratings from EBF, my messy notes say that the two dominant flavours were a pastry-like sugary sweet honeyed malt backbone and a whole lot of grape flavours (red and white). A strong barrel presence. Hard-candy sensation. Somewhat of a sweet wine character. A very nice strong and sweet fruity sipper. Maybe the aged in chardonnay barrels batch was served at EBF was different. I found it to be a very good but I wouldn’t call it a barley wine. This beer is to Barley Wine what Rolls Royce is to laptop computers.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
hophead75 (2012) - Largo, Florida, USA - MAR 16, 2009
EBF Session 1. Interesting beer- aroma of chardonnay, molasses/caramel, some toasted malts, white wine grapes, some mild citrus hops. Taste of molasses, oak, light white wine tannins, a touch of peach, bread, and citrus. Overall pretty smooth with some light alcohol and mild hop bitterness in the finish. Definitely unique, didn’t think I was going to enjoy this one but I was proven wrong.

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