Ask, and ye shall find the beer ye be looking for! Or something like that… Yes, less than a day after I formulated my list of winter seasonal reviews, which came complete with the final three beers I wanted to try, I found the first amongst those final few. Yes, MIll St. Barley Wine now sits on my shelf, and the custom ceramic bottle is slowly emptying…
For some time, I’ve been generally lauding Mill St. for its creative endeavors. Their Tank House Pale Ale is one of the best I’ve ever had, and with few exceptions, their lineup is pretty impressive. And when it comes to barley wine, they release an annual batch that is contained in a ceramic, half-liter container and is very strong. This year’s comes in a black container and weighs in at a hefty 11.5 % alc/vol.
Appearance: Dark amber, touch of cloudiness, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Strong, syrupy malts, notes of citrus
Taste: Immediate touch of brown sugar giving way to coarse malts and slight bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt flavor, alcohol and slight hoppiness
All in all, this beer was quite strong and I fear, somewhat overpowering. This is not so much a factor in alcohol content as taste, where the powerful, extra strong malt character leads to a coarse quality which pushes just about everything else to the side. The trace hops and sweetness are quite appealing, but they tend to get overshadowed, which is too bad. Still, this was a highly pleasurable beer and definitely a worthy addition to my winter lineup. And even though a single bottle can run you in excess of 20 dollars, I consider it a worthy investment.