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North Coast Class of ’88 Barley Wine

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RATINGS: 189   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.61/5   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 75   EST. CALORIES: 300   ABV: 10%
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.

trujahwarrior's rating

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
trujahwarrior (510) - Monroe, Washington, USA - MAY 15, 2013
On tap at the Latona pub in Seattle. Pours a clear orange color with a medium off white head that leaves good lacing. Smells of pine, citrus, resin and dark fruit. Tastes of all the same things in the smell with a good hop bite. Mouthfeel is oily and slightly chewy with good carbonation and a dry finish. I really liked this version. It was the last of the 3 I tried Which I’m glad I did because it was the most hop forward. I don’t know how this got such mediocre reviews. I thought it was great.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
oldrtybastrd (4888) - Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA - MAY 3, 2016
Pours a hazy reddish brown. Aromas of hops, caramel malts, kind of medicinal. Flavor is to strong for me, big alcohol taste, malty with a dark fruit taste.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
fiulijn (18101) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - APR 19, 2016
Bottle from Brewery Creek, Vancouver, corked
if it was released in March 2013, it’s 2 years old

Hazy amber color with creamy and persistent head. The aroma is very nice, more fruity than the usual American Barley Wine, adding a dimension; there is also a delicate Bourbon vanilla touch. Good body strength, moderate sweetness, but expect less thickness and sugars than usual; instead this Barley Wine has a remarkable spicy character, like rye; good bitterness level, the hop participates with some fruity resins, more was expected.
Even if it’s a Barley Wine, I suspect it was better when fresher; good brew, a bit different, but not mind blowing.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
jtclockwork (13278) - , New Jersey, USA - APR 13, 2016
Bottle - pours orange gold white head - nose/taste of old hops, orange peel, toffee, metallic notes and resin - medium body.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
vtafro (6057) - Wayne, New Jersey, USA - APR 13, 2016
Bottle. Golden pour with tan head. Fruit, boozy and hoppy aromas. Herbal, fruity, boozy, hoppy grassy Flavors.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Lowe1983 (1475) - Dayton, Ohio, USA - APR 3, 2016
Pours a cloudy, dark amber color with an off-white head. Aroma is dark fruits, caramel malts, and some alcohol. Flavor is similar but not as thick on the mouth feel as I usually like with barley wines. Some warming on the finish but not a whole lot.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
AirForceHops (5781) - Epping, New Hampshire, USA - MAR 17, 2016
750 bottle, thanks Adrien! Amber color, mild traces of sediment floating around, no head. Aroma is toffee, pine needles, dough malts, and booze.

The flavor still has plenty of bitterness, more bitterness then should be here for a three year old bottle. Plenty of pine, floral hop hints. Tobacco leaves, earthy notes. Body is damn near syrupy. Carbonation is still here. No oxidation can be found.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
koleminer20 (1862) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - FEB 27, 2016
From notes. Enjoyed at the 3rd Annual Barleywine Tasting at Travis’s house on February 20. 750 mL bottle. The pour on this one is interesting. It’s a brighter orangey color with a small cap of light tan head and a light lace as it falls down. This one is definitely an American. There is a nice light caramel and toffee up front, and it then just rolls through a huge hoppy bitterness. There is a lot of pine resin, and not really any more sweetness once the pine sets in. The flavors are very similar. It’s got a strong hoppiness up front, backed up with a strong resin on the back end. There is a little sweetness in the middle. A touch of citrus and the toffee come back through, but are definitely overshadowed throughout. The mouth feel is a little thin and light, with a touch too much bubbly carbonation. The aftertaste is lingeringly bitter and carries a touch of fruitiness. This one is definitely interesting. The booze that exists is really well hidden. It’s a nicely done American.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
bytemesis (6193) - Sunnyvale, California, USA - FEB 4, 2016
Bottle. Pours hazy orange, small beige head, decent residual and lacing. Aroma is caramel, toffee, pine. Flavor is medium sweet, light plus bitter, hints of orange zest, caramel and toffee with piney hops adding bitterness on the finish. Medium body, creamy mouthfeel. Pretty much right down the middle of the American barleywine fairway on this one.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
JK (5594) - St. Louis Park, Minnesota, USA - NOV 14, 2015
Light amber color. Also very thin palate like widmer. More hops, bitter, and lightly sweet. Dry finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
zizzybalubba (1753) - Raleigh, North Carolina, USA - NOV 10, 2015
750 mL bottle from Jungle Jim’s International Market, Fairfield, OH. Cloudy dark orange pour with a frothy off-white head. Aroma of tangerine, pine needles, caramel, toffee, and booze. Citrus and piney hop taste with a sturdy sweet malt backbone. Mild bitter finish. Pairs well with stilton, sharp cheddar, and smoked nuts. A nicely done barleywine.

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