A long time ago I had purchased a 4 pack of Dogfish Head Olde School. The beer is classified as a barley wine. At the time, I wasn't too familiar with the style but I was intrigued by the green-yellow bottle caps that indicated a high alcohol content. In 2014 I drank the first one and wrote about it. I wasn't too thrilled with it. I read up on aging, also known as cellaring, beer. So I waited until 2015 when I tried the 1 year old version and also wrote about it. Now here we are again, 2016 and time for the third bottle. It was recently my 30th birthday and money has been a bit tight what with wedding planning. This 2 year old barley wine was just the gift I needed to give myself.
This will read rather similar to my 2015 review since not much has really changed since then. The fresh 2014 bottle tasted too strong and the advertised figs and dates was washed out. Time sure did help.
Appearance: It's a murky honey brown with a light beige head. It seemed like there was a lot of yeast stuff going on and it was very cloudy.It seemed to pour thick. There was very little bubbles on the side of the glass.
Aroma: I could live in this beer! I want candles and air fresheners made of this beer! FRUIT! I love it! The scent of raisins filled my nose nearly instantly. I was also picking up something reminiscent of the inside of a chocolate covered cherry cordial but minus the chocolate which I guess would just be a cherry cordial but I've never seen one that wasn't chocolate covered. The raisins wre likely the combined forces of the fig and dates. After awhile it was easier to discern the fig aroma independently. I also caught some toffee which was extremely pleasant.
Taste: WOW! I Iove it when a beer can tastes as good as it smells! The first sip is a journey. It starts off almost too sweet which makes me a bit concerned for bottle number 4 in 2017. I almost hated it in that split second. Then the fruit flavors engulf and repurposes the sweetness. The fruit adds complexity. Then a smooth alcohol burn eases the palate. This beer has around 15% ABV but you'll barely feel it. It's just enough burn to balance the sweetness.
Mouthfeel: Light carbonation. Thick, kind of chewy and most definitely sticky.
Overall: Like I said,it's very similar to last year. Yes the fruit is a bit stronger which may still be too strong for some. Yes, the alcohol taste has subsided which may be too low for some, but I like it. I'm curious to see how the final bottle tastes in 2017. This is still a great improvement from the original bottle in 2014.
It was a bitter sweet moment finishing that bottle. I didn't expect cellaring to become such an emotional experience. It may have been the alcohol talking but I found myself overly contemplative and thinking about the past and the future. I also turned 30 so perhaps that was the sole reason for my mindset. It is exciting to think about where my life will be in 2017 when I finally open the 2017 bottle. Before I opened the 2014 bottle I didn't even write on EatDressGo. I was just a behind the scenes player and now I'm an active member. Have you had any experiences with aging beer? It doesn't have to be Olde School. Comment with those experiences be they positive or negative. Have you ever tried this beer before? Did I get the review wrong? right? comment with that too.