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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mill St Barley Wine 2009 Review


The Mill St Barley Wine comes out around the holidays and can be stored for years. The container is stunning - a ceramic bottle with a swing top, worthy of your display case or a spot on the mantle. I will be placing mine on my shelf next to a empty bottle of Woodford Reserve and probably keeping it there until next holiday season when the next batch will come out. The Barley Wine is not cheap. In fact, there has been a price hike to $11.95 CAD per bottle. For that price you can get a 6 pack or several good beers. This is also one of the strongest beers you can find at LCBO at the moment. The strongest I have ever had prior to this was a can of Faxe 10%.

I decided not to drink the entire bottle in one sitting so I grabbed a 2 oz glass and proceeded to open the Barley Wine. Like any other swing top, the beer opened with a satisfying pop. The beer poured with a very short head into the 2 oz glass, which quickly receded and left an off-white ring around the edge of the glass. The color is beautiful - medium brown with some amber and red hues. The aroma is strong. It is sweet and flowery with hints of caramel and honey in the background. The beer exhibits light to medium carbonation. The taste is as complex as the aroma. It is very malty, sweet and spicy all at the same time. Hints of caramel and fruits come up but are quickly drowned by the bitter and hoppy finish. The finish takes some time to develop and you are left with an overwhelmingly pleasant sensation and taste which last for quite some time. This is the strongest beer I have had, but the 11% ABV has been masked beautifully. Drink the Barley Wine too fast and you will experience the 11%. Take it slow and you will enjoy the complex aromas, taste and finish of this fantastic beer. Either way, the 11% will get you so be careful.

Scores:
Cost - $11.95 CAD for a 500 mL ceramic bottle
Taste - 9/10

Overall - 8.8/10...an absolutely fantastic extra strong beer. The high ABV has been masked extremely well with a complex taste and finish. The only con is the high price, for which I had to deduct some points

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