Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Heavy Seas Below Decks Barleywine 2008 Vintage

Brewery: Clipper City Brewing Co.
Location: Baltimore, MD
Style: Barleywine
Brewery Website
Rating: A-

We originally tasted the Heavy Seas Below Decks back in February 2010. I've been cellaring several bottles from the same batch (labelled 2008) and decided to crack one open back in May of this year to see how it has progressed as it has aged. The Below Decks is copper-amber in color with quite a bit of haze and sediment in the glass. The head is foamy and a light tan in color. The nose detects citrus, yeast, banana and a whiff of sharp cheese.

On the palate the Below Decks is smooth, winy and has a slight syrupiness to it. Notes of banana and sweet apples are here along with some dark rye toast notes and a touch of mesquite wood. There is a hop bite with notes of juniper and pine. As the beer has aged notes of golden raisins and caramel are starting to peek through as well. There is a warming alcohol sensation. A faint, fleeting note of sharp cheese is detectable as well. The 2008 Below Decks has a medium-heavy body and has done a good job of retaining its carbonation as it approaches its third birthday. The finish has lingering notes of yeast, fruity esters, rye and a bit of oily hop resin.

At three years old, the 2008 Heavy Seas Below Decks is developing rather well. Yeasty esters are still readily apparent, and the caramel and raisin notes that many barleywines start to develop with age are starting to make their presence known. My only concern is a bit of an odd note of sharp cheese. I'm not sure if this is specific to the bottle I tasted, or whether this will lessen or become more pronounced as time goes on. I guess I'l find out when I check in on this batch in another year or two. I will definitely be stashing away another 4-pack of this year's release based on how well the 2008 release has aged.

We're back!

I am happy to announce that the blog is returning from its extended hiatus and will begin posting new reviews starting later in the day today. Fatherhood has taken a big chunk out of my free time, but we should be able to get 1-2 reviews up each week for the forseeable future. Thanks to my loyal readers for your patience.