Beer School: Barleywine & Imperial IPA

Two nights ago, I was joined by 3 others(Su, Chris, Julian) in the arduous education of beer.  This was not a feat for the feint of heart or those lacking in sufficiently talented livers.  This class is a little different than the others.  You only get 8 beers to try because of the high alcohol content.  When you factor in the pre and post class drinking (and you do all of your course work), the night becomes a wee bit fuzzy.  Anyway, just a heads up that the beer descriptions get a lot shorter at the end analogous to the increase of talking and the decrease of comprehension.

As always, the event was hosted by Greg Browne (who is the brewmaster at Mickey Finns).

1) Smuttynose Barleywine

Malty but not that sweet.  ABV: 11%.  I thought the lady on the bottle label was pretty ugly.  This is a bottle conditioned beer which means that more product is added as some of the beer evaporates.  It was a fine starter, but nothing brilliant.

2) Anchor Old Foghorn Barleywine

Very malty, smooth and rich.  ABV: 8%.  This beer is only released once a year.  It was first released in 1975.  Greg mentioned that this shows how long Anchor has been in the game and how unusual it was in that time to release such a craft beer in the US.  I think this was the beer of the night.

3) Lagunitas Olde Gnarleywine

Hops on the nose.  Crazy fruity flavors, really makes you go wow.  ABV: 11%.  This was a very interesting beer.

4) Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine

Had what I would call a roastiness to the flavor.  Hops and malts very balanced.  There were flying pigs on the bottle label.  I thought the beer was great.

5) Moylans Moylander Imperial IPA

Resiny.  2x Hops, 2X Malts (than I guess their regular IPA).  I really didn’t like this beer.  Even the bottle label was busy and not good.  There was a lot of beer tech talk going on.  Something about how hops are natural preservatives.  Then Julian said something about “hop oiling the bitch”.  Not really sure what it all means and that’s one of the many reasons (not the least of which is my laziness) that I don’t brew my own beer.

6) Three Floyds Dreadnaught Imperial IPA

Very hoppy, not much finish.  I consistently get confused with the name/flavor of this one and the Behemoth.  But make no mistake.  The Behemoth is an awesome beer; the Dreadnaught not so much.

7) Arcadia Hop Mouth Imperial IPA

Buttery popcorn flavor (which apparently is considered a defect by beer enthusiasts).  Defect or not, it wasn’t very good.

8) Great Divide Hercules Imperial IPA

Very smooth, not too hoppy.  I would say this was my 2nd best beer of the evening.

9) “Pineapple Express”

Greg brought in a special brew that he basically dubbed Pineapple Express.  I suppose there were supposed to be some kind of pineapple flavoring but I don’t really remember.  ABV: 11%.  It wasn’t anything special except for the fact that it was home brewed.

It was a great night of drinking/talking and of course learning about 2 of my favorite styles of beers.  I can’t wait for the next class (as long as it isn’t brown ales).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *