Thursday, February 25, 2010

Heavy Seas Below Decks Barleywine

Brewery: Clipper City Brewing Co.
Location: Baltimore, MD
Style: Barleywine
Brewery Website
Rating: B+

Todays tasting is the Below Decks, which is a limited release barleywine from Clipper City's Heavy Seas line. The Below Decks is a deep reddish-amber in color. It it rather hazy and has a fair amount of sediment. Be sure to take proper pouring precautions if you don't want sediment in your glass. The head is golden tan in color and fairly short. The nose has citrus notes of grapefruit with some pineapple. There is also some yeast and an overall aroma profile similar to an off-dry white wine.

The Below Decks Barley Wine has hard cider and sweet malt flavors. Honey, apple, pear and yeast are all present on the palate. There is also a pleasant bitter kick, with some pine and floral hops flavors noticable. There is a strong alcohol component present. The Below Decks has a medium body with a bit of a drying mouthfeel. The finish has notes of sweet bread, lambic and honey.

Some barleywines are pretty drinkable right away upon their release. Many more do their best after some time to age in the bottle, much like a big red wine. The Below Decks seems to be tending toward the latter. There are some nice flavors here, but some additional time in the bottle should bring soften up the edges a bit as the sweetness starts to fade and the flavors start to marry. The label does suggest that the Heavy Seas Below Decks will age well (as many bottle-conditioned barleywines do), so I will be cellaring the rest of this 4-pack. I'll check back in a year with an update.

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