My friends had a special beer tasting event this past weekend where the guys pulled together an amazing 3 year vertical tasting of Dogfishead Red and White Barleywine. I'll get to that special event in the next posting. We also brought along a bunch of stuff to try on the undercard as well. My contribution was an '09 Three Floyd's Behemoth. You may remember I picked it up on my last trip out to visit Mark in Chicago. I have to say I was a little worried since it was fairly young and Barleywine's can be very strong without a little mellowing. I was pleasantly suprised by this one.
It pours with a very light head, just a ring around the glass. It has a deep honey color. Not as deep as an amber but much more than a lager or saison. It has a sweet malty smell but there are some solid hops in it, which is suprising for a barleywine, but not for Three Floyd's. I don't think they really know how to not add hops.
The initial taste is lightly carbonated but on the barleywine scale is definitely well carbonated. It starts out malty but with a honey sweetness instead of a typical heavy malt taste. It wasn't very hot or alcoholly and there was a nice hoppiness at the end that cleaned up the aftertaste nicely. I'm not always a big barleywine guy but this was definitely a strong offering that was a little outside the norm. range and very drinkable. You do have to be a bit careful though as this high alcohol bruiser definitely sneaks up from behind and hits you. A 22oz is a ton to drink and you may feel like you were hit over the head with a folding chair or suplexed on to a table the next morning. As always the Three Floyd's crew creates another strong offering.
Pros: Honey sweet with a nice hop balance create a very drinkable barleywine
Cons: This double digit alcohol contender packs a hell of a punch and you may find yourself having a hard time remembering who you got in a fight with last night.
Verdict: Excellent drinking barleywine that you shouldn't turn your back on - 4 out of 5 stars