The very first beer we mentioned in our very first “Our Cellar” post of 2013 was a barleywine; specifically Pelican Mother of All Storms. Seeing as this is the final “Our Cellar” post for 2013—this blog is on hiatus next week—it seems fitting to cap off the year with another barleywine: Alaskan Barley Wine Ale.
The “last frontier” brewery’s crafted its barleywine since 2003, so it’s safe to say they know their way around big malts and massive hops (also proven by what’s in the bottle). Intensely rich malt flavors of caramel, toast, some brown sugar and subtle dark fruits wash back, while relatively moderate bitterness keeps the sip in check. Warming alcohol signals this big beer’s 10.7% ABV.
This is one of the best styles to age, simply because the present flavors perfectly adopt positive oxidation notes of dark raisins and cherries, and benefit from the smoother, sherrylike mouthfeel that comes with age. We’re putting this down for a couple of years.
New for 2014
Like many of you, we spent most of the year focused on filling out our cellar. Not nearly as much came out as went in, which is OK when you’re trying to build a collection. But, next year, things are going to change around here. We’re going to dig deep, deep, deep into the dark, cool corners of our collection to find some of the best matured ales. Hopefully you’ll learn from our successes. Hopefully you’ll learn from our mistakes.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll put together a list of beers ready (and almost ready) to pop open. We might even put it up for you to vote. So, keep your eyes peeled: We’re waking up a bunch of beers from their extended naps in 2014.
In the meantime, tell us what you’re planning to pop open in the New Year?