Mark Twain Brewing Company - Ol’ Pudd’nhead (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
- ABV: 11%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 52–59° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, or Small Nonic
We’ve been loving the big beers we’ve been able to try from Mark Twain Brewing Co. in Missouri, and some of our Rare Beer Club members might recall their delicious A Wee Bit Foggy, a Scotch ale we featured in the spring of last year. We’ve managed to secure four of Mark Twain’s Brewers’ Reserve Series releases—including a rye-whiskey-barrel-aged version of A Wee Bit Foggy. To start things off: we’ve got the brewery’s exceptional Ol’ Pudd’nhead English-style barleywine, aged in bourbon barrels. As with all four beers, this is a Rare Beer Club exclusive, and will only be available to RBC members and at the brewery’s taproom.
Barrel-aged Ol’ Pudd’nhead pours a dark brown with golden highlights; light head retention, but not surprising given the ABV. The aromatics provide exceptional amounts of dried dark fruits, ripe berries, toffee, and caramelized sugar. A huge, robust, generous aroma from the start, showing a very plush vibe with lots of deep fruit and caramelization. Toasty, warming vanilla, almond, and rounded bourbon from the barrel time. This BA barleywine offers up a really nice balance of the base beer and the bourbon-barrel’s impact throughout.
Following the aromatics, this beer’s got just exemplary amounts of dense caramel, cotton candy, ripe red berries, and some darker fruits, the lattermost particularly emerging in the mid-palate. Deep, full mouthfeel overall, and an absolute pleasure to dig into as this warms up in the glass. The alcohol adds a touch of vinous warmth but generally stays tucked out of the way despite the ABV. An incredibly endearing beer overall: showcasing loads of delicious fruit, dark caramels, and spun sugar, with a robust barleywine core and great barrel presence.
Definitely fit for some additional cellaring time, but this is drinking in its prime right now. For food pairings, we’re thinking grilled pork sausages, skirt-steak tacos… With all of this barleywine’s toffee, caramel, brown sugar, and ripe red fruit, this is also primed for a wide range of desserts. The style’s also got enough residual sweetness to counteract some spice.
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