Friday, August 15, 2014

Mad River Brewing Company John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale

Hello beer lovers and welcome to another edition of the NorCal Beer Blog's brew review.

Tonight’s featured beer is Mad River Brewing Company John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale. I picked up this bottle at Plaza Bottle Shop in San Leandro (here). Not only is this the closest bottle shop to where I live, but they’ll let you buy a single 12 ounce bottle so for my review purposes it is excellent.  They also carry (and get in) special beers before many of the other local bottle shops. If you find yourself in San Leandro, check this place out and them that Mark from NorCal Beer Blog sent you!

From the Mad River Brewing Company website: “This vintage pours rubescent garnet in color with a tenaciously creamy head. Ambrosial clove, cinnamon and grapefruit aromas lend to the evocatory flavors.  A moderately peppery and medium dry malt finish cossets the palette, promoting contemplative sipping and enjoyment.
The ideal winter warmer, John Barleycorn Barley Wine is best served in a snifter in front of the fire throughout the Harvest Season. Ages extremely well with optimum maturity reached at one year and beyond.”
Let’s get started!
Appearance: Pours a toffee brown color with nearly no head – just a microscopic bit of tan bubbles and a thin sheet of lacing all over the glass.
Aroma: Caramel, roasted malts, toffee, dark fruits and a slight smell of wood.
Taste: Caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, burnt sugar, dark fruits – mostly figgy, roasted malts, and a touch of chocolate and hop bitterness.
Overall: Full bodied and big in many ways, Mad River Brewing Company John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale is delicious.  At 11.1% ABV there’s a nice balance of bitter and sweet, it is not overly boozy, but packs punch.  Highly recommended for fans of the style.  I’ll be picking more up for sure!


Mark Harvey

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