The Bruery Mash & French Toast

Another Monday over, time to open a beer.

ABV: 13.4%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “The earliest known reference to French toast is in the Apicius, a collection of Latin recipes dating to the 4th or 5th century, where it is described as simply aliter dulcia (‘another sweet dish’). The recipe says to ‘Break [slice] fine white bread, crust removed, into rather large pieces which soak in milk [and beaten eggs] fry in oil, cover with honey and serve.’ A fourteenth-century German recipe uses the name Arme Ritter (‘poor knights’), a name also used in English and the Nordic languages. Also in the fourteenth century, Taillevent presented a recipe for ‘tostées dorées’. Italian 15th-century culinary expert Martino da Como offers a recipe. The usual French name is pain perdu, ‘lost bread’, reflecting its use of stale or otherwise ‘lost’ bread — which gave birth to the metaphoric term pain perdu for sunk costs. It may also be called pain doré, ‘golden bread’, in Canada. There are fifteenth-century English recipes for pain perdu. An Austrian and Bavarian term is pafese or pofese, from zuppa pavese, referring to Pavia, Italy. The word ‘soup’ in the dish’s name refers to bread soaked in a liquid, a sop. In Hungary, it is commonly called bundáskenyér (lit. ‘furry bread’).”

Random: French toast is one of my favorite sweet breakfast treats.

The beer poured with a light brown, one finger head. It dissipated quickly and left very little lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown and clear with light carbonation visible. The nose was filled with sweetness. I picked up caramel and maple syrup and then cinnamon. There was vanilla as well. The taste was sticky and sweet with lots of maple syrup and brown sugar. The vanilla came out as well. I also picked up a bourbon note. The booze was noticeable, but not overwhelming. It had a thick and chewy body with light carbonation. The finish was sweet and lengthy. I really enjoyed this beer, although this is definitely a sipper. This is worth seeking out.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Weyerbacher Cinnsanity Barleywine Ale

Tonight’s beer is one that I was really looking forward to. I feel like Weyerbacher has really been trying to update their image with new takes on their classic beers. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 13.3%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We’ve taken Insanity and aged it in whiskey barrels with cinnamon. The result? It’s CINNSANITY! The addition brings a complementary note of cinnamon to the already present notes of bourbon, cherry and vanilla. This smooth 13.3% ABV brew is warming and balanced with a subtle sweetness and hint of spiciness thanks to the addition of cinnamon.”

Random: This came out in March of 2017.

The beer poured with a quarter of a finger of white head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass, but left a small crown on top of the body. The body itself was murky and medium brown in color with no visible carbonation. The nose was incredibly fragrant. It was filled with cinnamon, bourbon and apple whiskey. The taste was unfortunately, overwhelming and one note of cinnamon. I let it warm for awhile, hoping some of the nuanced notes came through more, but it was still a lot of cinnamon. I was able to pick up some alcohol, bourbon, oak and vanilla. It had some figs at the end as well. The body was thick with moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with cinnamon and nutmeg. A bottle of this was not cheap at $3.75 ($.31 per ounce). I see what they were trying to do with this beer, it just desperately needed balance.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Lagavulin Whisky Cask) 2013

Tonight’s selection is a beer that I picked up awhile back that I wanted to give a try. Let’s see how it was.

leesharvestwhisky

ABV: 11.5%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “In 2015 we have found another year’s harvest really worth celebrating and brewed a phenomenal Harvest Ale. Darker and richer than the many that have come before, the 2015 edition will surprise and delight. To look at, the beer is slightly darker than previous vintages, with flavours of toffee and sherry. But as with all JW Lees Harvest Ale, these flavours will develop in the bottle as the beer ages. Harvest Ale is a limited edition vintage barley wine, made once and once only from the first hops of the year and the very finest British malt. The beer quickly gained a cult following of ale enthusiasts who recognised its quality and relish in the different flavours each vintage brings and the evolution that comes with ageing over time. In the past 29 years, the beer has grown in popularity and in some bars around the world it has gained legendary status, with older vintages being highly sought after and changing hands for up to $60 per bottle.”

Random: I think I have a cold again. I hate getting sick.

This beer poured with almost no head. What was there was cream-colored and dissipated quickly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was murky and brown with no carbonation visible. On the nose, I picked up a lot of sweetness with brown sugar. There was also a significant booze note with oak and whiskey. The taste had a lot of leather upfront with caramel sweetness. Tobacco was next and was quickly followed up with brown sugar. It was really earthy. The body was thick and syrupy with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy with leather and whiskey. A bottle of this was $8.99, which came to $1 per ounce (the bottle was only 9 ounces). This was a great beer for a cold night and incredibly flavorful. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask) 2009

Tonight’s selection is a real treat. I picked this up in New York and aged it for a while. Let’s see if this warms me up tonight.

harvestcalvados2009

ABV: 11.5%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Harvest Ale is a limited edition vintage barley wine, made once and once only from the first hops of the year and the very finest British malt. The beer quickly gained a cult following of ale enthusiasts who recognised its quality and relish in the different flavours each vintage brings and the evolution that comes with ageing over time. In the past 29 years, the beer has grown in popularity and in some bars around the world it has gained legendary status, with older vintages being highly sought after and changing hands for up to $60 per bottle.”

Random: I’ve never had Calvados. I’m curious to see what it tastes like.

This beer poured with absolutely no head on top of a dark and cloudy deep mahogany body. Since the beer was so dark, I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose reminded me more of a sherry or a brandy than a beer. It had a lot of sweetness along with dark fruit, specifically raisins. There was a significant alcohol note that I picked up too. As it warmed, there was also oak and vanilla. On first sip, I picked up a lot of sweetness with raisins and dates that was quickly followed with alcohol. The oak and vanilla came next with some blackstrap molasses and dark brown sugar. The body was sticky and thick with no carbonation. The finish lasted forever and was sweet with vanilla and molasses. I don’t recall how much I paid for this beer since I’ve aged it for awhile, but this was really a treat, no matter what the price. This is a beer for a cold night by a fire and I think it would even pair well with a cigar. If I see any more of these, I’ll be aging them for a good amount of time.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Pipeworks Cherry Murderous: The Lookout

I picked this beer up in New York and aged it for a little over six months. I’ve had some experience with Pipeworks beers and enjoyed the liquid, but no real experience with a cherry barleywine.

cherrymurderous

ABV: 9.5%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: The only information on the website about this beer is that it is brewed with cherries and is 9.5% ABV.

Random: Going back to work after a few days off is always rough.

The brew poured with a half a finger of light brown head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a bright mahogany color with light carbonation visible, despite the color of the beer. The nose was filled with brandy and caramel notes and quickly went into syrupy sweet cherry. It reminded me of cherry pie filling. There was some fusel alcohol as well with toffee at the end. The taste started with cherry and pie filling and then went into the same sweet, brandy note. It had caramel and toffee next with breakfast bread. Booze and ash came next, but the flavors were integrated well as to not take away from the primary notes. The body was thick, but silky smooth with almost no carbonation. It made for the perfect winter sipper. It had a lengthy finish with brandy and pie filling. A bomber of this was $12.99, which came to $.59 per ounce. I was impressed by this beer. It took the cherries and really enhanced the base beer. Next time I see this beer, I’m buying a few to throw in the cellar.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

The Bruery Mash

One of the highlights of my California business trip was going to The Bruery. I was a bit surprised that it was in an office park and also surprised that the tasting room was relatively small for a brewery that size. I will say it had one of the best tours I’ve ever been on and we got to sample this beer while we were there.

mash

ABV: 12.5%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “An English-style barleywine aged in bourbon barrels, Mash is an intense yet balanced beer with notes of burnt caramel, toasted bread, ripe pear, dried figs, vanilla, toasted coconut and finishes with oak tanning. This has become an instant favorite around the brewery due to its balance, subtle complexities and overwhelming deliciousness.”

Random: They recommend pairing this beer with meat pie, roast venison and baked apple crumble.

This brew poured with a one finger, cream-colored head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. There was a small crown on top of a mahogany-colored, hazy body with no visible carbonation because of the color. The nose was filled With bourbon and vanilla. It also had caramel, booze, leather and figs. The taste smacked me in the mouth with a sharp booze note. After I adjusted to it, I picked up caramel, burnt brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon. There was also notes of toasted brown bread and figs. It had a medium thick body for the style with a lot of carbonation. The finish was lengthy with alcohol, bourbon and vanilla. A bomber of this was expensive at $21.99 ($1 per ounce), but if you’re into the style, it may be worth it. This beer would definitely benefit from a few years of age to tame that booze note, but this was a good start.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale (2011)

It’s the best time of the year…baseball season! The season has finally started, which always makes me incredibly happy. What better than a beer to go with baseball? This is a beer that I stuck in the cellar for a bit after picking it up from Half Time. Since it was from my first trip there, I don’t remember how much I paid for it. Let’s see how it was.

IMG_3262

ABV: 11.5%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to bunitedint.com, “J.W.Lees Vintage Harvest Ale is only brewed once a year for release on December 1 of each year. It is a Limited Edition Vintage to celebrate the first brew from each year’s harvest of barley and hops. Only the first delivery of the year’s classic barley malt ‘Maris Otter’ and the classic hop variety ‘Goldings’ from East Kent is therefore used. Fermentation is induced by J.W.Lees distinctive three-strain top-fermenting yeast. J.W.Lees Vintage Harvest Ale reaches 11.5 % alc./vol. once completely attenuated with a natural fermentation in open copper lined fermenting vessels that were commissioned in 1876 when the brew house was refurbished.”

Random: As usual, the Phils lost on Opening Day. I have a feeling it’s going to be a very long season.

This beer poured with a huge, four finger, cream-colored head that was thin and dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy mahogany color with light carbonation visible. The nose had notes of raisins and booze with vanilla too. The taste had decent amount of booze and transitioned into extremely sweet caramel and raisin. After it warmed, some oak and vanilla were present as well. It had a thick body with light carbonation. The finish was long with sticky, sweet caramel finish. This beer was a really nice sipper and one I would definitely have again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Two Roads 20 Ton Ale

Since we were in Connecticut, Val’s mother was nice enough to go to the brewery in town with us. The brewery happened to be Two Roads, and the place was absolutely packed. We finally found a seat at the bar so I could try a beer or two. Last time we were there, I got a flight of all of their beers on tap. This time, since I’ve reviewed a lot more of them, I got two full size beers from them. This one was recently released and I hadn’t even heard of it until I saw it on tap. Let’s see how this was.

IMG_2974

ABV: 12%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A blonde barleywine – aggressively hopped and made with heirloom malts. Named for our 20 Ton crane that adorns the middle of our 100-year-old building.”

Random: The star on the top of our Christmas tree is almost completely upside down. I think it has given up on Christmas.

This beer poured with less than half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly. It didn’t leave much lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, light maple syrup color with light carbonation visible. The nose was sweet with honey, booze and malt. The taste had a lot golden fruit, specifically golden raisins with honey, booze and grain. It had a thin body for the style with very light carbonation. The finish was long with booze and borderline cloying sweetness. This beer was only alright and one that I wouldn’t have again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Nils Oscar Barley Wine

It’s taken forever to find this beer. I’m guessing that it’s not distributed in New Jersey, so when I saw in Westchester County, I knew it was coming home with me. Let’s see how it was.

IMG_2524

ABV: 10.4%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Nils Oscar Brewery (The Nils Oscar Company) is a Swedish microbrewery and spirits company based in Nyköping. The brewery was founded in Stockholm 1996 as Kungsholmens Kvartersbryggeri i Kungsholmen, Stockholm but changed name to Tärnö Bryggeri rather quickly. During 2006 major relocations were conducted and the company got its current name. The beers of Nils Oscar Brewery have often received good reviews from national beer critics. Nils Oscar beers have been awarded several gold medals at Stockholm Beer Festival during the last years”

Random: They do Christmas in July, so why not try a barleywine in July?

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated almost instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a deep, cloudy chestnut color with very light carbonation. The nose on the brew was big. I got plums and dates along with some cinnamon, vanilla and toffee with some caramel as well. There was some bready malt as well with a touch of booze. The flavor the beer was even more complex. I first got plums, dates and prunes. Next, I got vanilla, hazelnuts and a touch of light, toasted oak. Then, toffee and caramel with some bread came through. The booze provided slight warming, but nothing reflective of the high ABV. The body was velvety smooth with very light carbonation. It had a long, smooth finish with vanilla and oak. This beer was really, really good. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to try, despite seeing it in multiple beer books. If you’re into beers of this style, go grab this one now.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Firestone Walker Double Double Barrel Ale (2013)

Sometimes when I’m out, I find beers that have been on my “Wanted” list for a few years. While the other half and I were in Philly, I came upon this gem at “The Corner Foodery.” Despite the high price tag, I had to take this one home with us. Let’s see how this one fared.

IMG_2092

ABV: 12%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our flagship beer brewed to double strength. Immense toffee, vanilla, coconut and caramel malt married with American oak aromas emerge. The first sip develops with sugary caramel, molasses and vanilla, finishing with English toffee and toasted coconut. A beer to be reckoned with and perfect for sharing.”

Random: BMW makes bobsleds?

This brew poured with a half a finger of pure white head that dissipated surprisingly quick and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy chestnut color with some limited carbonation visible. The nose was very heavy with significant oak and vanilla notes, some alcohol and tobacco. The taste was a bit less intense than the nose implied. I got oak and vanilla primarily. After the glass warmed a bit, I got some warm toffee sweetness that went into a bit of booze warming on the end of the sip, but not as much as expected from the high gravity beer. The body was thick with moderate carbonation, which made it a really nice sipper on a cold, winter night. The finish was long with oak and vanilla and some booze. As it seems to be with Firestone Walker beers, I loved this one, despite taking so long to find. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0