Read about how this beer was brewed along with the recipe here.
If you’re looking for subtlety, look elsewhere. This barleywine with ingredients typically found in a fruitcake is big and full of flavors. The first sip tastes like . . . well . . . fruitcake – or maybe a spiced cake that would be at home at Grandma’s house. It’s hard for me to pick out the individual spices because they blend together well. But, there’s a lot of them.
Following up closely behind the spice attack is subtle pineapple from the candied fruit added close to the end of the boil. It is well balanced with the rest of the beer. As the beer warms – and weighing in at nearly 12% alcohol by volume, it should have plenty of time to warm – darker flavor notes come from the brown sugar and molasses undertones.
The beer finished at a gravity of 1.013, so the mouthfeel is fairly substantial. There is no alcohol hotness. Unfortunately, the carbonation is nearly nonexistent. I probably should have added some fresh dry yeast at bottling time to provide reinforcements for the Safale US 05.
If this beer performs as a previous batch, it should age well. Time should mellow the spice character as the malt and dark sugar flavors deepen. I’m looking forward to next holiday season . . . if I can save a few bottles until then.