from the Cellar – Widmer Galaxy Barleywine

by Sean on January 29, 2014

cellar

For 2014, I will be pulling up some bottles from my cellar and reviewing them. Not to be pessimistic, but I don’t have lofty expectations. Though my beers were light protected and kept at a consistent temp, beer can be fickle and some may have been better last month or next month. That being said, I am really excited to dig into the beers and see what time has wrought.

The second beer pulled up from the depths of the cellar is the Widmer Bros. Galaxy Hopped Barleywine ale But before that, the backstory on the beer from the brewer, “Limited Release #4. Spring 2011. Ale brew with huskless malt and Belgian candy sugar. Galaxy Hopped Barleywine is a new take on an old favorite. This beer pours a dark crimson, almost mahogany color. The yeast & galaxy hops deliver a big bang of red and yellow fruit aromatics like banana, pineapple, cherry, and strawberry. The experience begins with a taste of toffee and darkened sweet caramel overlaid on subtle tones of vanilla. All to be punctuated by the floral and citrus dry hop character.”

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This beer pours a dark reddish brown.  I got a strange whiff when opening the bottle and was worried because this is a hopped beer from 2011!  But I figured that the high ABV of 9.5% and the candy sugar from Belgium would offset that.  The initial aroma once in the glass is a bit of caramel, a little Werthers wrapped candy.  But I also get a quick hit of bitterness and at the back the faint aroma of sawdust.

The taste is surprisingly good.  This beer did hold up!  There is a good sparkle to it.  A little caramel which must be from the candy sugar and then a good bit of bitterness that holds on for a while.  I’m also getting some notes of citrus juice too.  The end dries up the palate a bit but then the next sip begins the re-hydrating process anew.

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The final cellaring verdict:  This was one of the beers that I was worried most about.  I really feared that I had held it too long.  Going on 3 years!  But it held up.  Because the hops probably dropped out fairly quickly, I think anything over 3 or 4 months would have been at about the same hop level as now.  As it stands the candy sugar takes center stage along with the alcohol to make a pleasing glass.  Maybe Widmer will make this again so I can try a fresh version to compare.  Which may affect this review.

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