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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mill Street Barley Wine 2010 Review

The long wait is finally over - the 2010 Mill Street Barley Wine has arrived in all its glory and it could be yours for only $11.95 for a 500 mL stone bottle.

So what makes this so different from last year's Barley Wine? For starters, it is 10% ABV rather than 11% and it has 2010 written on the bottle instead of 2009. But enough jibber-jabber, lets drink.

The bottle opens with a satisfying thump from the swing top and pleasant baked bread aromas start to spread almost immediately. The color is very similar to last year's - deep amber, almost brown with some red tones. The beer pours with a short, off-white head, which recedes relatively fast. The aroma is strong and sweet with hints of toasted barley, honey and dried fruits. The taste is where the 2010 Barley Wine starts to really differ from the 2009 one. This year, the mouth-feel is really thick, almost syrup-like, and the taste is very sweet. It reminds me a lot of heavy Belgian ales, the ones you can only drink one per sitting over a long period of time. Back to the taste though. The sweetness acts like a wall, blocking any of the complexity last year's Barley Wine had. In this one, all I can detect are just some very light malty hints and a lot of sweet dried fruits with a bit of caramel. On the plus side, the finish is bittersweet with just the faintest hint of hops and slightly more enjoyable.

To be completely honest, I am a little disappointed with this year's Barley Wine. I don't even think I can finish the entire bottle in one sitting, because I started to get a headache about a third of the way through.

Cost - $11.95 for a 500 mL stone bottle
Taste - 6/10
ABV - 10%

Overall - 6/10...I had high expectations, but I was let down

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