Joseph Formanek's picture

Barrel Chested Barleywine

January, 2016
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
36 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Upland’s Barrel Chested Barleywine is a big exuberant brew that isn’t afraid to make its presence known. The aroma of this clear, brown-black brew with a solid, cream-colored head is loaded with bourbon and wood character, melded with a moderate level of toffee and molasses-aged malt notes. At the time of judging, the alcohol notes in the brew, particularly the bourbon character, is somewhat edgy and tends to dominate the aroma. The flavor retains the same characteristics, with big bourbon and alcohol flavor and bite very evident above the rich malty backbone. Hop expression is moderate but not overpowering, and it exists at a level that marries well with the bourbon and malt characters. The finish of this full-bodied brew maintains all of the mentioned flavor characteristics, delivering a long lasting impressive memory of your last sip. This one is meant to be savored.

This is a very expressive Bourbon Barrel-aged Barleywine despite being quite young (bottled in 2015), and it does show its youth. This brew would age quite well, with some of the edgier bourbon barrel notes mellowing out as the malt character becomes more complex over time. I could see the rating being significantly higher with proper cellaring.