Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale Revisited

I have taken a few timid steps toward cellaring some of my beer. Last January I had some Brooklyn Monster Ale and very specifically put aside a bottle to have…oh, about now. It’s been an awful temptation to see it back for just about all of 2009. This is a bottle from 2008.

Very pretty caramel color and clear. What little head it has falls fairly quickly. There’s some vanilla in the aroma, plus a bit of floral, but mostly it’s significantly malty/bready. It’s thick. Not syrupy, but obviously very high gravity. Big malty flavor with a little bit of heat from the alcohol.

Question is: Is it better than it was a year ago?

I say yes. Most of the “harshness” I found in it last January has certainly mellowed. It’s warm and complex. It’s good. Should I cellar it for longer? I don’t know, but it would be hard to leave it alone for that long.

Monster Barleywine

Flying Dog Horn Dog Barley Wine

Beer-a-Day #298Flying Dog Horn Dog Barley Wine

By far the biggest dog in the yard… Horn Dog Barley Wine is a dark and malty English-style Barely Wine that is aged for a minimum of three months before being packaged. Like a fine wine, this beer will only get better with age when stored at optimum conditions.

According to the label, this is VINTAGE0811. November, 2008 I assume? Well, then. It should be nicely aged.

Golden brown and an almost syrupy texture. Aroma reminds me of spicy dried fruit. Some vanilla in the taste and more of that dried fruit.

You know, I didn’t used to like barley wines; they were just too thick for me. But I’ve come around to liking them. This is simply delicious.

Flying Dog Horn Dog Barley Wine Style Ale

Dominion Millennium Ale

Beer-a-Day #84

I’ve never seen this before, in spite of it being fairly local to me. “Premium Ale Brewed with Honey” exclaims the label, as well as 10.5% ABV. Yikes!

Dark honey colored, with a thick, off-white head. Some vanilla in the aroma, along with grassiness from the hops. Not sweet. Some alcohol heat, but not as much as I expected. There’s an unusual burnt toast flavor in the aftertaste.

Old Dominion Ales

Victory Old Horizontal

Victory Brewing Old Horizontal logoBeer-a-Day #5

Barley Wine week continues.

I don’t recall having this one before, which is surprising considering Victory beers are readily available around here and the name is a hoot.

Medium-dark brown with red highlights. Finger’s width worth of head. Spiced plum in the aroma. Pleasantly bitter without overt sweetness and a rather thick body.

Victory Brewing Old Horizontal

Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale

Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale 2008 - photo copyright Naomi EverettBeer-a-Day #3

I guess it’s Barley Wine week.

I’ve never had this before, in spite of being a big Brooklyn Brewery fan.

Nice medium-brown color with some slight red highlights. Off-white head that settles into about an eighth of an inch of foam. Bready with a bit of floral spice. Flavor is biscuity and a little harsh, though not unpleasantly so. This one seem like it could do with some time to mellow. I have another bottle that I’ll save at least halfway through the year, but I’ll try to hold off until the end of ’09.

Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale

Heavy Seas Below Decks

Beer-a-Day #2

Two days in and I’m already breaking my rule of not writing about something I’ve written about before. However, this is the first beer that I’ve tried cellaring. This is the 2007 “vintage” of Heavy Seas Below Decks. I had the first one last December when it was fresh. Then I wrote about it for Session #17. So I decided to check out my last one a year after my first.

Nice deep coppery brown color, minimal head. Aroma is light, fruity, and a little mediciney. Unlike back in July, I’m not getting as much of that bourbon-like essence. It’s still pretty good, but I find I’m not enjoying it quite as much as I did back in July.

Heavy Seas Below Decks Barley Wine Style Ale from Clipper City Brewing

Session #17: Heavy Seas Below Decks barley wine

The Session - Beer Blogging FridayThis edition of The Session is sponsored by Rob at Pfiff!.

Session #17 – Going Against the Grain Bill: Solstice Edition

The subject for July’s Session could be summed up thusly: Drinking anti-seasonally. Think of this as the unorthodox cousin of such topics as “beer and food” and “beer and music”. Beer and weather, perhaps? More like beer despite the weather, I guess. Cracking open a Guinness on the beach, finishing a day of yardwork with a Speedway Stout, or whatever else you do that raises an eyebrow (again, beer-related, please), do us all a favor an dtake a few moments to share your non-conformist tale (again, you kangaroos and lemurs down there, your take on this could be even more peculiar, so do chime in, please).

I had mixed feelings about this edition of the The Session. I was anticipating starting off this Fourth of July holiday by cutting my grass. With a very steep hill in the back it’s hot and thirsty work. The idea of spending an hour straining in the hot sun and coming inside to have something dark and heavy was, well, concerning me. It appears, though, that a rainy day has saved me from that fate. (It has also ruined any chance for fireworks, which is disappointing itself.)

On the other hand, I’m just starting to experiment with cellaring beer. I have some of Clipper City’s Heavy Seas Below Decks Barley Wine in storage. This is the 2007 “vintage”. I had one last year in December, and I am curious as to how it has aged. I was going to wait until December–or at least the Fall–to try the next one, but now seems like a perfect time.

From the label:

Our nod to classic English Barleywine-style ales, Below Decks is deep copper in color with a luxurious malt character. Have some now…and cellar some for later! Very limited release. 10% Alc./Vol.

Deep copper color. Decent-sized head with small bubbles. Very malty aroma with an almost bourbon-like scent. Not much aroma from the hops. Thick in the body, with some heat from the alcohol. More of that essence of bourbon, including a tingle on my lips. Finish is surprisingly light.

That’s good. I’m enjoying it. A great beer to have on a cold and rainy day like today. I’m looking forward to the next one at the end of the year.