Tag Archives: Barleywine

Day 16 – Brewski and Evil Twin – Gno more Gnomes Barley Wine

So, exciting times, I managed to make it out for a beer today on my way home from work. I popped in to Barn Hammer to give their “Madder Red” Barley Wine a try. It was rather tasty and I’m pretty excited that they could potentially do a full batch of it. There are also some possibilities down the line that are exciting that I’ll hopefully be reporting on in January.

There’s lots to come in the new year with follow-ups, get to know a brewer interviews, and beers on the horizon, but for December the focus is on this calendar and the beers within. Aptly, today’s is a Barley Wine from Brewski Brewery in Sweden and Evil Twin (a Dane who brews in New York). The name is amazing in and of itself, Gno more Gnomes, and makes me excited to try it.

Brewski is a brewery located in Helsingborg. This is a small town in Sweden that is on the opposite side of the Øresund straight from Helsingør Denmark. This is a famous trade route between these two countries and Helsingør is, in fact, the small town in which Hamlet takes place. I’ve had the opportunity to visit and it’s a pretty cool place with a super sweet castle. There is a history here where there is a Danish Viking statue that is said to awaken if Denmark should ever be in danger.

While not much information is available on Brewski itself, from what I can determine it seems that their head brewer, Marcus, is like Jeppe (Evil Twin) in approach to brewing. From what I can tell, He does have a brewery but takes the same experimental tact as Jeppe trying to explore and set new limits for beer. Marcus even says “Just because no one did this kind of beer before doesn’t mean it can’t be done.” There are a huge number of beers that have been produced by Brewski and it seems that they try new things often.

Evil Twin was Founded by Jeppe Jarnit–Bjergsø in 2010, Evil Twin isn’t really a brewery.  Jeppe is known as the “gypsy brewer” in that he brews all over the place.  He develops recipe after recipe of unique styles and plays on styles that are brewed out of other breweries and exported around the world.  At the moment, he brews out of 10 different breweries in 6 different countries around the world.  This means that Evil Twin doesn’t really have any year-round beers but rather a huge number of different and interesting one-off brews. To put it in perspective, Evil Twin launched more than 40 beers in 2012.

Jeppe was born in Denmark and began his adult life as a school teacher.  In 2012 he moved his family to Brooklyn, NY so that he could be closer to where it all happens and to grow his brand.  His goal is to make New York the beer capital of the world.  While many of the beers that he makes are experimental, they are also in many cases critically acclaimed.  Brewing in small batches, usually no more than 2500-3000 barrels (~3500 hectoliters), the beers tend to be a bit more on the expensive side and very difficult to find.

This beer is brewed in the style of an English Barleywine.  A very strong, heavily malted beer.  This style is really a showcase of malty richness with a warming alcohol and often pleasant hoppy or fruity notes. This beer can be aged and when done so it can often take on port like flavours.

bass-barley-wine-ad-1907

While there have been strong ales of various different formulations for a long time in England, the modern Barleywine can be traced back to Bass no. 1 in 1872.  This was the first to be called a “Barleywine”.  Traditional a darker style of beer, in 1951 a brewer called Tennant (now Whitbread) produced “Gold Label” a gold coloured Barleywine.

Gold-Label-No1-Barley-Wine-Labels-Tennant-Brothers-Exchange-Brewery-Ltd_39261-1

These beers are quite often the strongest ale offered by a brewery and now typically are stamped with a vintage date as they have become popular cellaring beers.  This style will age well and often changes in flavour profile.  The English Barleywine is the original style of this beer that has spawned off into other styles from Belgium, the US and elsewhere.

 

Appearance – Pours a dark ruby colour with a good 1” head that dissipates quickly.
Smell – Figs, dark fruit, toffee, plums, raisins.
Taste – Starts of rather sweet and has a really nice fig and plum note coming through. Continues with some good bitterness near the finish and leaves a lingering alcohol warmth.
Mouth feel – Medium-full body with moderate carbonation and a bitter finish with alcohol warmth.
Overall – Rather enjoyable Barley Wine. Presents with really nice malt characters. The fig is a good addition and brings some extra dark fruit notes to it.
Do I like it?
– I did like. Tasty, good malt notes, good masking of alcohol content.

 

 

Garrison – Ol’ Fog Burner

Garrison - Ol Fog Burner

I’m pretty happy that some of the beers I grew up enjoying are making their way here to Manitoba. One such brewery is Garrison.  They’ve been around since before I could drink, and I know that they were a go to beer at many local pubs.  They have certainly grown, as have my tastes, and now they produce a wide range of beers.  Today I’m going to review their Ol’ Fog Burner Barleywine.

The Brewery

Garrison Brewing is located in the largest maritime city, Halifax.  The name comes from the fact that this one was of the major garrison sites for the protection of Canada being the largest eastern port.  As well, Halifax has a long history of brewing with William Steel opening shop as the first brewer in 1754 in order to serve the early settlers and troops who were stationed at Citadel Hill.  By prohibition, Halifax was home to some 20 brewing operations!

Garrison itself tries to follow this concept of independent micro-brewing and set this at their heart when they opened in 1997 with their first brew “Irish Red Ale”.  They have continued to produce and grow serving hand-crafted ales that use the best ingredients available.

After 15 years in business, in 2013 they expanded to develop over 13,000 square feet of industrial space to become their new home. Their setup is made up of tanks and equipment that were designed and fabricated in Charlottetown, PEI (keeping it local, very nice) and consists of a single-step infusion mash tun and a propane-fired kettle and whirlpool.  It takes them an average of 10 days start to finish to ferment and condition.  You can read all about their brewing process here.

The Style

This beer is brewed in the style of an English Barleywine.  A very strong, heavily malted beer.  This style is really a showcase of malty richness with a warming alcohol and often pleasant hoppy or fruity notes. This beer can be aged and when done so it can often take on port like flavours.

bass-barley-wine-ad-1907

While there have been strong ales of various different formulations for a long time in England, the modern Barleywine can be traced back to Bass no. 1 in 1872.  This was the first to be called a “Barleywine”.  Traditional a darker style of beer, in 1951 a brewer called Tennant (now Whitbread) produced “Gold Label” a gold coloured Barleywine.

Gold-Label-No1-Barley-Wine-Labels-Tennant-Brothers-Exchange-Brewery-Ltd_39261-1

These beers are quite often the strongest ale offered by a brewery and now typically are stamped with a vintage date as they have become popular cellaring beers.  This style will age well and often changes in flavour profile.  The English Barleywine is the original style of this beer that has spawned off into other styles from Belgium, the US and elsewhere.

As always, read more about the style in the BJCP style guide found here.

The Review

ABV – 11.3%     IBU – 60     Can be cellared

Appearance:  Beautiful tawny/caramel in colour with a good 2” head that just won’t quit.

Smell: A beautiful array of smells come from this complex beer. Caramel, molasses, cognac, raisins, alcohol warming, biscuit/yeasty notes, toffee and some resinous notes as well. The aroma is pleasant and rich.

Taste: This beer has a soft start that moves towards a huge hit of malt, rum and cognac. The warming from the alcohol in this is really pleasant.  The toffee and caramel sweetness is certainly there along with some subtle spices like cinnamon or black pepper. There are some slight fruity notes as well as a nice bitterness that on the finish.

Mouth feel: Medium bodied, rich mouth feel with a nice carbonation. Hugely rich and deep front with a nice clean bitter finish.

Overall: Really impressed with this beer. I expect a lot of complex flavours in a barleywine given the huge amount of malt and complexity available to the style. This beer does not disappoint and brings a huge array of different aromas and flavours to the table. Overall this beer is very well balanced and with the high alcohol content that can be a bit dangerous.

Do I like it: Once again, I am impressed with Garrison.  This beer brings so much in the way of flavour and aroma.  I am certainly going to be aging one of this to see how it tastes next year. Beautifully rich and balanced, well worth it.

I’m pretty excited as I will be heading to the Maritimes this summer to visit family. That’ll mean a visit to a number of new breweries as well as old. I’m going to certainly make the trip to Halifax to visit Garrison, and I can’t wait.

-Beer Winnipeg