What to cellar and crack open this winter.
BRING THIS OUT: Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale 2009
In 2009, Smuttynose’s barleywine had all the marks of a cellarable beer: Spicy alcohol coursed through the beer’s rich toffee malts, while dark fruit notes emerged alongside fruity yeast esters and resinous hops. After two years, the beer shows signs of maturity: Caramel scents fuse with figs, while tobacco and leather deepen the bouquet. With its alcohol bite tempered, the now creamy beer rolls effortlessly over the tongue. Prunes and figs seep into the caramel sweetness, bright hints of citrus contrast aged leather, and glowing alcohol warmth creates a dry swallow.
LAY THIS DOWN: Laughing Dog The Dogfather Imperial Stout 2011
Hefty malts and 10.9% ABV give The Dogfather the fortitude a beer needs to age properly. Today, this Russian imperial stout layers the tongue with dark chocolate, roasted malts, threads of toffee and a lactic bite; alcohol tingles the taste buds and leaves the chest warm long after the swallow. A year or two in the cellar will smooth out the alcohol notes, and invite luscious flavors to pair with the dark malts. Dark fruits (think raisins and figs) will emerge and fuse with smooth chocolate notes as the body develops a thicker, sherrylike mouthfeel that keeps the flavors in the mouth just a little bit longer.