Dogfish Head Olde School: 15% abv
Dogfish Head again, with a limited production barleywine. We’ve done a few barleywines, but they are not frequent. Since we’re waiting to do Bolt Cutter by Founders, it seems we will give you a teaser with this beer. What makes this beer interesting is it is brewed with figs and dates, which means something somewhere. This barleywine is obviously strong, at 15%, and we haven’t tried a whole lot of 15% beers that are easy drinkers. At this level, flavor is huge and the beers are sippers. This is no exception. But let’s see how it treats us.
On the nose, you get apple, pear, barley sugars, sweet sugars, raspberry, light peach, caramel, wheat, malt, and honey. You can tell right off the bad that this beer does reflect quite a few sweeter flavors, but doesn’t hold a large amount of complexity. The arrival is actually a little more complex than we are used to in a beer, with caramel, berries, apples, blackberry, honey, lemon-lime soda, and maple. Again, there is a theme here. The body is pretty light in the variety of flavors, containing malted barley, wheat, sweet apple, caramel, and maple. The finish gets slightly more complex with honey, banana, wheat, barley, dry red wine, grain, maple, yeast, and a slight sourness.
This beer is straight forward then. Not terribly complex, but super sweet and prominent. This isn’t like other barleywines in that it lacks the bitterness or slight hoppiness that counterbalances the sweetness. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you prefer your drinks. This is a rich drink, so it will probably be your only one for the night, lest you desire a cavity. There was some disagreement amount the group on how to score this beer. It lacks a lot of complexity, but it is a unique offering among a group of barleywines, and you might like that. Originally slotted for a 7.5 out of 10, but on further consideration, it seems this still has the potential to be an enjoyable, quality beverage. It might not be worth your cash unless you want a sweet, relaxing beer.