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North Coast Class of ’88 Barley Wine

Serve in Snifter


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 112   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.56   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 75   EST. CALORIES: 300   ABV: 10%
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1988 was a pivotal year for the emerging craft brewing industry on the west coast, marking the founding of some of America’s most influential breweries, North Coast Brewing Co. among them. It was also the year Fred Eckhardt published The Essentials of Beer Style—a book that quickly became an indispensable reference for aspiring brewers and critics. In recognition of the 25th anniversary of this milestone year, North Coast Brewing and two other west coast members of the pioneering “Class of ’88,”—Rogue Ales and Deschutes Brewery—have collaborated on a trio of commemorative beers evolving from Fred’s style guidelines. Each of the breweries has created its own distinctive interpretation of a barleywine. Brewers traveled to each other’s locations and teamed up to brew all three ales. Their common heritage, joint efforts and inherent camaraderie resulted in a cohesive set that allows beer aficionados to enjoy three examples of the style. These exceptional barleywines are being released in late March of 2013 and are available around the country for a limited time, distinctively packaged in either 22 oz. or 750 ml bottles, or on draft. The breweries are planning Class of ’88 celebrations in Bend and Portland, Oregon and San Francisco and Fort Bragg, California.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chuckaduck (606) - Highland Heights, Kentucky, USA - APR 14, 2014
Bottle. 4/14/14. Pours translucent gold-amber with a fluffy, but fast fading off-white head. Aroma is dark fruits, vanilla, grassy, citrus, caramel, touch of alcohol and a hint of leather. Taste is surprisingly dry; earthy, dry dark fruits, biscuit, leather, lemon rind, caramel, warming; finish is long on fruit rind and some resin. Spotty lacing throughout. Medium carbonation. Full, coating mouthfeel. A bit short in the malt department but not unenjoyable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
DialSquare (2311) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - APR 11, 2014
Bottle shared at Proof. Sparse note: caramel, brown sugar, nutty, sweet, slight candy. OK. 6.6

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ratman197 (9034) - Arvada, Colorado, USA - MAR 28, 2014
750 ml corked and caged bottle poured a cloudy amber with a lasting ivory head. Aromas of toffee, sherry, fruitiness and light earthiness. Palate was medium bodied and smooth with a dry finish. Flavors of toffee, sherry and light earthiness with a smooth dry lingering sherry finish.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Brigadier (2830) - Clevelandish, Ohio, USA - MAR 14, 2014
22 ounce bottle (?)
Thanks to malrubius for sharing this at a tasting. An interesting contrast to some of the other Class of ’88 releases, this one is a bit more hop forward. A fine example of what North Coast is capable of it shows that you do not always have to be the biggest or boldest to succeed.

Aroma / Appearance - A bronze carbonated body shimmers with life underneath a crisp ivory head. Clear icy legs crawl down the sides like sheets of rain. The fresh nose is a mixture of malts, nuttiness, and boozy although somehow very low key for a barleywine.

Flavor / Palate - Sweet sugar esters, yeast, and lemon custard are carried along on a foundation of iced tea and hops. Filling without that rich creaminess which comes from a huge body it manages to please. I think the Great Lakes Class of ’88 beer might be marginally better but this is definitely worth trying if the price is right.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
swanmann (568) - Norman, Oklahoma, USA - MAR 12, 2014
A gentle controlled pour from the big bottle into a snifter, it’s lightly hazy amber orange with small, tan, quickly diminished tan head. Smells like toffee, booze, apricot, honey...The flavor is sweet and malty, not overly sweet for the style, with nice toasty bitterness and some warmth. The palate is full, a bit syrupy, with carbonation serving well to counterbalance.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
drowland (5958) - Valdosta, Georgia, USA - MAR 5, 2014
1/17/14. Bottle shared by a generous soul at Proof during a visit with the old gang. Dark brown pour with a small khaki head, some rubies in there. Nutty caramel and dark fruit aroma, reminds of earth and wood. Sweet flavor, nutty, dark fruits, brown sugar. Tasty enough.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Terminus (3146) - Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA - FEB 27, 2014
Bottle at flying saucer in st louis pours deep orange with a soapy white head and great lacing. Nosebis very floral and fruity. Flavors are very fruity floral no alcohol heat.. Not very complex but not very exciting. Long floral finish lots of sweetness. Decent yet not all that exciting.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
jimhilt (2377) - Bow, New Hampshire, USA - FEB 23, 2014
Pours a five finger, off-white head that fades slowly and leaving a good lace. Hazy amber color. Good carbonation, medium bodied. Tart fruit nose and flavor is sweet, spicy/tart fruit, high ABV is hidden, smooth finish. Pricey at $14.00 for a caged & corked 750ml bottle from Tully’s Beer and Wine Wells, Me.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
rbrazell (1452) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - FEB 3, 2014
Shared at Proof.Ruby colored our with a small white head. Sweet caramel, nutty and toffee aroma with touches of dark fruits and cherry. Flavor is similar and sticky sweet with some resiny hops in the back end. Not bad.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
brenn79 (1429) - Idaho, USA - JAN 31, 2014
750 ml corked n’ caged bottle- Pours hazy deep golden with a one finger white head. Aroma is sweet malt, cherries, hops, nice not overbearing. The taste is pretty much the same, there is a peach or mango flavor that really sweetens things up, fairly smooth for a barley wine. Body is medium high and carbonation is prickly and higher than usual for the style. I did enjoy this, this really isn’t my style though.

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