Drinking a canned barleywine, let alone setting one down to age, is rare today and was even more of an anomaly in 2013: We cracked open this can of Sun King Bourbon Barrel Johan from January of that year to see how the trendsetter is drinking now.
Time may not have done the beer’s appearance any favors (it pours a muddy mahogany color), but the aroma’s polished, loaded with leather, chocolate, graham cracker and raisin, emulating an oatmeal raisin cookie. Fruit also plays a big part in the taste; cherry mingles with cocoa and toffee before melting away into sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste. Barely a hint of the 10% ABV (or discernible bourbon flavor) remains at this stage.
While further aging may bring out even more malt complexity, the nearly gone carbonation is a clear “drink it now” signal.