Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Olde School Barley Wine

A Dogfish Head offering I've not previously sampled, this is a massive 15% abv barley wine, brewed with 100% Maris Otter with dates and figs, in secondary I think. It's pretty distinctive. I don't know how old this sample is. I've had it sitting around for five or six months, so it's probably over a year old.

The head isn't so durable, but the color is gorgeous--fairly pale for a barley wine and sort of a deep, deep orange-gold. The nose is rather creamy, with noticable alcohol, some citrus-y (particularly orange) notes, a certain herbaceous quality, and moderately pronounced hops. The palate is pretty huge, with waves of deep fruitiness and velvety malt. Alcohol dominates the finish, which really lingers. As usual, DFH somehow manages to make huge beers drinkable.

Those of us in the know realize the many ultra-high-gravity beers actually suck. EKU 28 is so treacly sweet as to be barely drinkable. Sam Adams Triple Bock is a veritable chamber of horrors (imagine soy sauce and molasses and 18 or 20 percent alcohol in one hideous package). DFH makes 15% beers (and even 18 and 21% beers) that come off as pretty balanced and drinkable. This isn't as remarkable as, say, DFH World-Wide Stout, but it's a really lovely barley wine.

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