West Sixth Brewing - Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine Style Ale
Serving Temperature:50–57° F
Suggested Glassware:Snifter, Tulip, or Small Nonic
A big closer for this lineup of barrel-aged West Sixth releases, their Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine Style Ale gets aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for over a year before release. This pours a dense, caramel-brown color that’s quite dark. Hint of a reddish hue, but very little light getting through this beer. Decently formed light-tan foam, particularly given how high of ABV this beer is; small-bubbled head with solid retention and lacing left behind.
Decadent levels of dried fruits and caramel in the aroma. Cherries, dates, currants, plus some substantial vinous alcohol warmth. As with all four of these beers, there’s huge impact from the time spent inside a bourbon barrel. Here, the base beer absolutely keeps pace with that bourbon contribution, with a barleywine core layered with red fruits, caramel, and sherry.
Finely integrated carbonation, and full-bodied beer. The brilliantly detailed barleywine forms the core of the expression: dates, raisins, expansive caramelization, burnt sugar, crème brulee crust… There’s a good amount of oxidation and sherry-like notes giving the barleywine a bit of an aged feel, and the bourbon presence feels more like a secondary element here than any of the other featured West Sixth releases. Still, plenty of assertive notes from the barrel time, but ultimately the emphasis is on an impeccably detailed barleywine core first and foremost.
Drinking well right now, with modest caramel and sherry already apparent. This is big and burly enough for some additional cellar time—but we wouldn’t push it. For pairings, we’d enjoy this alongside a plate of robust aged cheeses, dates, crostini, and fig jam.
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