Michael Heniff's picture

Judge's Review: 93 Rating - Maple Barrel Aged Barleywine by pFriem Family Brewers

January, 2021
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
38 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Maple Barrel Aged Barleywine by pFriem Family Brewers is a barrel-aged Barleywine and is being evaluated as a Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (category 33B from the 2015 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines). Specialty Wood-Aged Beers are aged in spirit barrels and should have a harmonious blend between the barrel characters (typically vanilla and toasted oak) and the barrel spirits. Barleywines are among the strongest of beer styles with rich malt flavors and alcohol regularly exceeding 10% ABV. Maple Barleywine was aged in maple barrels for 12 months and measures in at 11.4% ABV.

Maple Barrel Aged Barleywine pours very dark brown (almost black) in color with excellent clarity and a splotchy tan head. The aroma is of prominent maple, rich dark caramel, vanilla and dried and dark fruits of raisins and plums with a hint of bourbon. The body is medium-full, rich and smooth with a light warmth. The flavor is of strong maple, vanilla, caramel, raisin and plum with lighter chocolate and bourbon notes over a moderately light sweetness. The beer finishes with a moderately light bitterness and a moderately light sweetness with flavors of maple, caramel and vanilla lingering.

Maple Barleywine is an exceptional barrel-aged beer. Definitely seek this one out! It will probably age well too. If there is anything to detract from this beer is that it was a little dark and chocolaty for a barleywine, but I am certain that barrel-aged beer fanatics will not find that problematic.