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Griffin's Bow Oaked Blonde BW

Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
4 / 6
33 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Brewing powerhouse Boston Beer Company has diverged from the ubiquitous Samuel Adams label in its recent foray into big beer – Griffin’s Bow Oaked Blonde Barleywine Ale. True to the style, Griffin’s Bow boasts a nose chock full of sweet malt, ripe fruit, and most prominently, alcohol. Pete liked the pungent “whiskey-like edge” to the aroma and felt the bourbon notes married well with nutty hints of pecan and walnut. On the other hand, Tim keyed in on the rich, saturated vanilla notes, praising the brewer’s art in weaving them through with traces of pineapple and coconut. Light amber in color and quite hazy, this beer throws a large off-white head that sticks around to the bitter end. Flavors of sweet corn and oak-derived vanilla dominate, with a blast of warming alcohol following closely behind. Rick enjoyed the “intense, in your face!” alcohol blast, yet was impressed by the nuanced interplay of oak, coconut, and Kentucky bourbon behind the booze. The oaky notes struck Tom as being “wood chips soaked in whisky,” and he had high praise for the commingling of alcoholic power, savory caramel and toffee, and sumptuous coconut and lychee flavors. As it has for 25 years, Boston Beer has delivered the goods. At 11.5% ABV and meant to be savored in a brandy snifter, this massive ale and its bourbon whiskey accents make an ideal après ski warmer.