Tonight I have a bottle of Mendocino Brewing Company's Imperial Barley Wine Ale. I've never had this barleywine before, and I'll be sharing my impressions with you - sip-by-sip.
This is an amazing smelling beer. I spent a while just inhaling the friuty, nutty, and almost bran/cereal type aromas, in anticipation of the first sip...
This barleywine lost it's head within about 20 seconds, but the level of carbonation feels just right on the tongue.
Cereal. Fruit. Light and pleasant hop bitterness. Clean finish.
Slight estery/fruity notes. Pleasant mouth feel. Firm and lingering but with no lingering aftertaste.
The fruity and subttly nutty qualites are what seem to keep coming through. Seems slightly astringent, but not unpleasantly. Slight warming. Very subttle cogniac type notes.
Sip #4 & beyond:
Can't a guy just enjoy his beer? Let me be! lol
I was surprised by the complexity of this barleywine. Having never tried it before, I had no idea what to expect. I've had Mendocino's 'Red Tail Ale', their ' Bule Herron Pale Ale' and their 'White Hawk Select IPA' (All good beers in their own right), but I never had the opportunity to try their barleywine until now.
It almost has a port wine type quality. Lingering on the tongue - in a very pleasant way. It has a fruity/wine grape type quality with a firm mouthfeel and a clean finish.
If your local bottle-shop can get their hands on a bottle, I highly reccommend it. Now excuse me while I get back to my beer!
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there!