Monday, August 13, 2012

Three Floyds Behemoth Barleywine (2011 vintage)


I wanted to include a Three Floyds beer as part of the send off reviews. I'm not usually a huge fan of barleywines, but I gotta think if anyone can make one that will knock my socks off it's probably going to be these guys.

4.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (707) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 12, 2012
I received a 2011 vintage (yellow wax) in a trade with a friend from Ohio (thanks, Max!). I poured it into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Honey/caramel hue; opaque body; forms a large, dark khaki, frothy head which leaves gorgeous lacing on the glass.

Smell: Very herbal nose with confectionary sweetness and distinct pine hops. No alcohol presence.

Taste: The barleywine style tends to be a bit of a double-edged sword. Great taste but low drinkability. That was my expectation going into Three Floyds Behemoth Barleywine (I mean it’s right there in the name). But one sip into it and I realized this wasn’t a beast after all. Much like the nose and appearance, the palate begins with a light tea-like sweetness. I’ve encountered this flavor in lighter beers before, but never in a barleywine.

Sweet, syrup-tasting flavors of caramel and toffee become very predominant through the middle. But riding shotgun throughout the entire palate is a distinct piney hop bitterness. Strong enough to let you know it’s there, but not to the point where this could be considered an imperial IPA. It’s much more of a sweet beer than it is bitter, but the inclusion of the hops without going overboard is pretty amazing. The absolute lack of alcohol is quite impressive as well. Mostly I enjoy the iced tea-like flavor throughout the entire swig. A delicious beer to say the least and unlike any other American barleywine I’ve ever had - and the best to date, by the way.

Drinkability: With a name like "Behemoth Barleywine" you go into this beer with an expectation of booziness and unbridled energy. The fact this beer is not only drinkable, but highly so, is nothing short of amazing. At 10.5% ABV there’s definitely some warmth to the palate, but nothing ridiculous. The aftertaste is an interesting mix of piney hops and candy sweetness. Slightly dry, slightly sweet, but never annoying. I was able to drink the entire 22oz bottle myself (outside on a hot summer afternoon I might add) no problem. There’s no reason to be intimidated by this one.

GRADE: 10/10