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Jim Koebel's picture

Height of Civilization

Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
5 / 6
34 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

This beer is a sipper, a Barleywine brewed with lemons, hibiscus, cranberry, cherry, and cocoa nibs. Its aroma is quite rich and generically fruity, with oak, ethanol, and cocoa coming through. Ethanol becomes more apparent as it warms, and the fruitiness becomes overripe. It pours penny-copper and fairly clear when held to light, with a moderately tan head that has impressive retention considering this beer's apparent strength. Its umami-like flavor is intense and mouth-coating, with cocoa and bruised, overripe fruit. There are moderate herbal hop flavors and moderate bitterness. It finishes both sweet and spicy, then dries out in the aftertaste. Alcohol is noticeably present, adding a layer of ethanol taste to everything and creating a very prickly, warm finish. Despite this sensory intensity, much of this beer's flavor is muddled and is missing complexity. Be prepared to share this large-format bottle with a few others.