Style: English Barleywine
Bottled: June 2013
Size: 22oz bottle
Bottle Count: 480
Pretty awesome barleywine from Olde Hickory, made for a local beer/liquor store, Peabody’s. OH is usually hit-or-miss for me, and some of the misses have been pretty bad. But I’ve heard great things about this beer.
The aroma and flavor hit all the same high notes – toffee, caramelized sugars, molasses, and vanilla. Big barrel flavors. Long sweet finish, and almost no heat for a reasonably strong beer. Easy to drink even in the midday heat of our tasting. Opinion of the group seemed to be pretty consistently high.
I love it, and I wish I had more.
From what I’ve heard, this surprisingly hung around for a couple of weeks after release. I guess things move slower up there in NC; 40 cases would barely last a day down here in Tampa (case in point: Life Is Like, which was yet another in a long line of release clusterfucks around here).
Style: American Strong Ale (whatever)
Growlered: Sep 2013
Size: 500ml flip-top growler
Price: n/a (see below)
Bottle Count: ~800
So yeah, the Rare DOS release turned into quite the clusterfuck. More than a few growlers turned up infected, likely due to the beer gun used to fill them. I opened seven here without issue, but almost all of the ones I sent out (a dozen or so) turned out bad. I think it was being exposed to room temp or above during shipping that did it. So this is a beer that Doug did to make up for it, sending them out to anyone who reported an issue within a set timeframe.
I had a prior version of this a couple years ago, and this is really close. It’s sort of an barrel-aged English Barleywine-American Strong Ale-Imperial Stout hybrid, and it’s damned good. Reminds me a lot of Mother of All Storms. Lots of toffee and caramelized brown sugar, and the barrel gives it a pumpernickel quality that works really well with this beer, similar to the way it did with Nooner batch 3. It’s not as sticky and thick as the DOS twins (triplets?) so it goes down pretty quickly. Good stuff as always from the talented crew at Cycle.
Lots of people have talked about the original Justin Blabaer, which is a blueberry berliner from Evil Twin. This one is a Brunello Wine Barrel BA version, made in conjunction with CBX, Westbrook, and Fano. It’s a little pricier and a little smaller, but packs more of a punch. The label is pretty damned funny, with Beiber jokes a-plenty.
The pour is a nice purple-ish blue, with a decent head that stuck around for a long time. Smells like… well, not as much like Blabaer as I’d like, but still pretty nice. Some sweet-tart-ness, not much fruit, and a little wheat. Flavor is more of the same, although the blueberry shines a little brighter. As it warms, it gets a lot better, with more blueberry skin and a lot more tartness. Maybe this would’ve been better poolside in the sun (no, I don’t own a fucking pool).
Is it worth the price? Well, it’s not much higher than the base beer, but it’s smaller but a bit (500ml vs. 22oz). Not sure I’d order it again, but it’s definitely pleasant and worth trying at least once.
Style: American Wild Ale
Bottled: Spring 2013
Size: 750ml C&C bottle
Bottle Count: Unknown
Awesome sour from Cascade, one of their tasting-room-only bottles. Lots of bourbon barrel to go with a cherry-based sour. Not usually my bag, but this pressed all the right buttons with me. Big lacto sour, like almost everything they do, paired with vanilla and marshmallow from the barrel. I want more, but it’s probably not worth the money or the chase.
Ah, yes. The Huna variant that had me racing up to CCB over and over just to find that I was either too late, too early, or just plain there on the wrong day. Six trips and I came away with nothing. It was pretty frustrating to find out that people were walking with a case or more when I couldn’t seem to score a single fucking bottle. And finally I got lucky and got some on the last day that they were releasing them to Tampa peeps. So was it worth all that? Let’s find out.
The pour is… well, it’s Hunahpu. Huge mocha head, I’ll throw in the obligatory cliched motor oil comparison, and it looks like you could stand a spoon straight up in this bastard. Smells like barrel — or at least some barrel, I wouldn’t have guessed brandy, maybe whiskey of some sort. The cinnamon and spice of the base beer are nowhere to be found in the nose. The flavor has a bit of that upfront, but now the barrel is strangely muted. Plenty of vanilla and some peppery heat, and lots of cinnamon in the finish. It’s definitely a big beer, but doesn’t quite dominate your palate like previous Huna variants did.
Okay, it’s good. But other variants are better. I’d have to put this one below the ’11 and ’12 variants but better than regular Hunahpu. Specifically, ’12 Apple Brandy > Rum > Bourbon > Whiskey > Cali Brandy > regular Huna. Worth trading a bunch of shit for? Yes, without a doubt. It’s still better than 90% of the BA beers I’ve had. Go get you some.
Style: American Wild Ale
Size: 375ml bottle
Bottle Count: Unknown
I’d only heard a little about these before someone had sent them to me. I hadn’t paid much attention before, but maybe I should’ve been. Strawberries, nectarines, and wine barrels? Oh, yes please. Strawberries sours don’t always turn out great (Hanssens, I’m looking at you), but I’ll give it a shot.
So it smells nice enough — plenty of citrus, and the strawberry is floating around there somewhere. And there’s a little sweet-tart to it, too. The taste is all nectarine upfront, along with some red berry in the middle, all wrapped in a light lacto sourness. A little drying, from the wine barrel I assume, but pretty nice on a hot day (we have a shitload of those here; yesterday was another 105+ heat index day). Damned good, and worth finding more.
For some reason #4 was sold out almost instantly, and I haven’t tried #1 or #2 yet, so hit me up if you have some. As it is I’m definitely ordering more of this one.
Really nice barrel-aged porter from Caldera. I’ve not been a huge fan of their IPAs, so this was a bit of a surprise. Good toasted coconut and marshmallow in the aroma. The barrel is subtle, but it’s more upfront as it warms up. I like it; seek this out.
I’ve had some pretty bad experiences with Jackie O’s so far. Dark Apparition was a drain pour, and I don’t even want to get into the mouth rape that I got from Hocking Triple. So this is the third of the three bottles that I got in a trade, and I have to admit that my hopes are not exactly high.
It pours nice enough, thick and mocha-y. Huge rum notes in the aroma, a little chocolate, pretty good. The taste… hmmm. I get the nuttiness of the walnuts, and the rum is definitely there, which isn’t bad. But damn if this thing isn’t really, really hot. Like rubbing alcohol hot. It’s big and makes itself known, and not in a good way. We choked down our glasses easily enough, so I guess it wasn’t as bad as its two predecessors, but for something that seems to be highly sought-after, this was yet another letdown from Jackie O’s. Fool me once, blah blah… I suspect that this’ll be the last one I bother trading for.
Man, this is a great beer. I’ve heard Tired Hands called “the new Hill Farmstead”, but for me it’s totally different for the most part. But this beer reminds me of the best stuff from HF.
The nose is tart and lemony, and there’s plenty of citrus notes in the flavor. It’s light and airy, which in the Florida rainforest is great for a sweaty old man like me. And low ABV means I could drink it all day… as if I could get much more of this. It’s a real shame that it was so limited, but hopefully they’ll make another batch soon (or maybe I should get off my ass and try some of their other beers).
Kicking off our impromptu tan whalez tasting with this bastard. I’ve had this a few times now (although this is the first real non-midwest-one-oz pour I’ve had), and it’s delivered every time. The aroma is pure Cinnamon-mutherfucking-Toast Crunch, sweet and spicy in the right ways. The flavor isn’t quite as good, but still worthy of the rarified air that this resides in. Tons of cinnamon and vanilla, a little heat from the barrel, and plenty of sweetness.
I’d say that I’m off to try to land some more, but it’s becoming such a pain in the ass that I think I might wait until the next batch. Although if someone out there is interested in swapping one for BA Hunahpu, then I’ll probably be up for it. Dammit.