After a three-month hiatus, Henry is back! Your favorite guest host had to move away due to a new job so he's not in town that often. But he was around this weekend and I managed to get him to sit down for a beer review of Adam - a wicked barleywine by Hair Of The Dog. We're both fans of the style, but Adam is unlike any barleywine either of us have ever tried before. Was this good or bad? Watch the review to find out!
3.8AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Usually, complexity and quality go hand-in-hand when it comes to beer. Notice that I said usually, meaning they are not directly proportional to each other because if they were "Adam" by Hair of the Dog Brewing Company would be an outstanding beer. It’s a barely wine with a tremendous amount of flavors - all of which are taken to the extreme. It’s not a perfect, though, but a very impressive one.
I split a 12oz bottle with a friend. We each poured ours into a small tasting glass.
Appearance: Dark blackish/brown hue with dark blood red appearance along the bottom and edges. Forms a huge, tan, foamy head which is very slow to dissipate and even laces the glass. This is amazing considering the style of beer and its potency.
Smell: Fruitcake, chocolate and smoke. Some alcohol presence as well.
Taste: Some beers’ palates are subtle and mild, others hit you like a ton of bricks and the latter is definitely true of Adam. I’ve often talked about my palate being slammed with hops, but in this case it’s smoke. It’s a very strange sensation since the first half of the brew is rather traditional barleywine style with fruitcake flavors, dark fruits like cherry and fig, with distinct dark chocolate through the middle. But the finish has the subtlety of a sledgehammer and overwhelms my palate with smoke. Not being a cigar or tobacco connoisseur I can’t accurately compare it to something other than to say it’s like a very fine tobacco with a honey glaze finish.
As I drink on the beer begins to get richer and more sweet, with a distinct cherry syrup-like taste. The chocolate, fruits and smoke eventually homogenize and make for a robust palate. The only thing is, all these flavor individually are great, but together they are monstrous. It’s definitely an impressive palate considering how unique the flavors are, and the fact the brewers made all these flavors work together, but as a whole it is not especially delicious. I have a feeling only seasoned beer drinkers will be able to appreciate the palate here.
Mouthfeel: By far the thickest and fizziest beer I’ve ever encountered. The head is akin to that of a soda’s and the palate is quite peppery.
Drinkability: Between the intensity of the palate, the lively mouthfeel and 10% ABV, Adam is a huge beer and difficult to drink in anything more than sips. I’m glad I split a 12oz bottle with a friend because the 6oz alone was enough to satisfy me.
Overall, this is one of the most interesting beers I’ve ever drank. I wish the taste was more in tune to my liking, but it’s still a very good beer nevertheless.