This may very well be my last barleywine of the season. As the temperature warms I find my self turning away from these heavier styles and reaching for something else. I won't say no of course, so I'll just say, we'll see. This is part of Rogue's XS series which all come packages in a big black ceramic bottle with a swing top. All this pretty packaging increases the price significantly to 16.99, so not a drop in the bucket. So whats the inside like?
The Beer: The bottle says 110 IBU's and 11.5%. It pours a very dark cloudy brown with a thick head of tan colored foam. The nose is full of malt and fig flavors. Some hops and espresso, fudge cake even. The mouthfeel is syrupy. There are flavors of toffee, raising, molasses, figs, dried dark fruits, and of course an abundance of hop resin. Bitterness really is the hit here, with the other dark fruit flavors taking a comfortable back seat. With warming there are flavors of dried fruit peel, cinnamon, and the beer takes on a more sherry or bourbon like quality. Really a high depth of flavor here. Even as it warms and other flavors develop the hops are always there and always in force, leaving resin coating the insides of my mouth. However taking everything together its a really wonderful combination of sweet malt, rich dark fruit flavors against the bitter bitter hops. A really fine beer, that under normal circumstances I'd give an A to, but with a beer that's this expensive you have to take that into consideration so I give it a slightly lower A-. Definitely worth the price, but its hard to buy multiple of these to see how they develop over time. I've said my piece, here's what the folks at BA think.