cbkschubert (2901) - BFE, Arizona, USA - MAY 7, 2009
On tap @ 1702 for Santa Fe Brewing night - Pours a hazy amber color with a medium size light tan head that lasts. Light lacing. This beer smelled and tasted a little odd. In a good way. The barrel aging really changed this beer. It’s a little hard for me to describe, so I won’t bother. Anyways, it was pretty good. The rating below mine pretty well describes the beer. FlacoAlto (4182) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - APR 30, 2009
UPDATED: MAY 8, 2009 Chardonnay Barrel Aged version Sampled at 1702; April 2009beerguy101 (5360) - Newark, California, USA - APR 26, 2009
This is the beer that I have been anticipating trying at the Santa Fe Brewing Night at 1702. Knowing that the keg room and tap lines run at a frigid, ridiculously cold temperature, this was one of the first beer I ordered for the night. I patiently waited for it to warm up for about 45 minutes before I got to it though. Despite the wait, the beer is still topped by a persistent, amber tinged, tan colored head that has impressive staying power. The beer is a murky, opaque, dark amber, brown color; while hazy, it does lose some of the chill haze as it warms up but it remains opaque throughout. During my wait for the beer to warm up I was able to smell complex notes of layered fruit, a certain tartness and a definite funk all of which make me salivate a bit more in anticipation.
The aroma has a complex vinous quality to it backed by a solid sort of musky goat, sweaty Brettanomyces influenced nose. You can smell the Chardonnay grape influence here as along with the fruit there are notes of flint and a fruity back note. The funk contributes a note that makes me thing of a cured, dried sweat stained leather and it also picks up a brown sugar like maltiness as it warms up. The aroma is just incredibly complex and I find myself spending quite some time just enjoying the richly layered aroma. Towards the end of my glass I start to notice aromas of vanillin.
The beer is still sweet, despite the wild bugs, and has lots of malty Barleywine character. It has been pretty significantly dried out from the un-oak-aged version of the beer. Flavors of light caramel and a light whole grain toastiness boost the malt character. The barrel aging provides a solid vinous note and the funk character is pretty prominent as well. The oak provides a spiciness, a tannic structure / texture and a woody presence; this is just a solidly oak influenced beer, but it is just one component of the flavor profile and really doesn’t bury any of the other complex flavors. Vanillin and butterscotch notes are also subtly here, but they both tend to linger expressively on the palate. The wild / funky influence provides flavors of an earthy mustiness, cured leather notes, some butyric sweat, musty horse blanket character; this has lots of Brettanomyces influence, but it never gets overly phenolic or overwhelming. The Chardonnay wine character combines with the other flavors some how to create flavors that are similar to a red wine, but there are still notes of flinty Chardonnay and nicely bright grape flavors. The hops actually start to sneak into the finish at times and provide a light bitterness as well as a slightly herbal note. The chewy malt character provides flavors of brown sugar coated toasted grain, a sort of earthy grain note, some biscuit like grain and even a touch of raisin like fruitiness.
This is quite a sipping brew, there is a fullness to it that is quite nice, but it is still lighter / more attenuated than the base Barleywine. Speaking of which, this beer is certainly no longer a Barleywine, it would seem to fit nicely into the 19th century classification of an Old Stock Ale; the funkiness and the vinous character make this an entirely different beast. This is very nice and I really wish I had bottles of this to age. This is perhaps a bit of an accident, but man what a tasty, incredible accident. The Brettanomyces has taken hold to a perfect level that mixes nicely with the sweet malt and the Oak / Chardonnay character quite well.
Sampled on tap at 1702 on 4/23/2009. This barley wine pours a very opaque dark brown color from the tap. Medium sized white foamy head with nice retention and good lacing. The aroma is caramel malt, swet, oak and a touch of fruit. There is also some grape flavors here as well. The aroma really intensifies as it warms. A medium bodied barley wine. The malts are caramel and sweet, touch of oak and some definite chardonnay fruitiness. The hops are floral and earthy. There is a very definite fruitiness/tartness/funkiness to this beer. Hides the alcohol very well. Nice use of a barrel is this one. The barrel aging has transformed this beer from a barley wine to more of a fruity oaky “American Strong Ale”. Very nice beer. The hints of oak are balanced somewhat but the tart/funk. Really different beer. I don’t recall if I ever had a funky barely wine before, but I kind of like it. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter and a touch funky. highibus (821) - Vail, Arizona, USA - APR 26, 2009
On tap at 1702. Very light nose but some sweetness comes through. Medium body with very little note of the barrell. Has a bit of vanilla and maybe a little funk as well (I do love the funk). Not overly sweet. Decent finish, Found out later it came from chardonay barrell. Might be why I get a big less oakiness.