You never quite know what you’ll find when you crack open a barrel to taste it after a long rest. Some of the best beers I have ever had – including this particular batch of barleywine – have spent time maturing in wood. The sealed, but slightly pourous nature of wooden barrels provide a great environment for stronger, full-flavored beers to slowly come to fruition.
This time around, the results were nothing short of sublime. This batch of barleywine, having spent a year in a Maker’s Mark Bourbon Barrel, came together amazingly. Rich malty notes at the fore; layers of fruit, hints of intriguing flavors like tobacco and leather, and rounded out with a very smooth oaky notes: vanilla, wood, maybe a whiff of chocolate and coconut. A nice warming sensation from the alcohol.