Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine - Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
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Ratings: 62 | Reviews: 13 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by LittleDon:
4.05/5 rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Judging by earlier reviews, I lucked out on this one. Opened 15 months after bottle date and poured into a tulip shaped glass. Two and a half fingers of head eventually subsides into a persistent head with a fair amount of lace. The aroma is oak, vanilla, caramel, bourbon like in quality. Sweeter than I prefer, but in keeping with the style. Caramel, vanilla, persimmons, oak, with a fair amount of bitterness to finish. Medium heavy body and soft mouthfeel.
Serving type: bottle
01-25-2014 23:22:37 | More by LittleDon
More User Reviews:
2.38/5 rDev -30%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5
375ml brown glass bottle with blue label and waxed-over pry-off pressure cap acquired at me local bottle shop for $6.99 USD and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are low; I had Small Batch Series #4 last night and it wasn't very good. It was also a gusher, so I'll be expecting this to gush as well, and will side-pour it very slowly. Bottled 10/09/12 - making this exactly one year old. Reviewed as an English Barleywine because Ranger Creek's website identifies it as such. 10% ABV confirmed. "...Aged for 6 months in oak barrels."
Served cold - straight from me fridge.
As I remove the wax, the cap is revealed - and it's pretty rusted. I'm starting to get concerned.
Removal of the cap yields a brief hiss of carbonation. No liquid surges out.
A: No bubble show forms as I pour.
Even slow pouring yields almost entirely foam; the head is a good eight fingers wide out of a possible nine. White in colour. Decent creaminess and thickness. Has a soft complexion. No lacing at all clings to the sides of the glass; this doesn't have "legs." Head retention is good - about 7-8+ minutes - but I suspect this is more from overcarbonation than careful brewing.
Body colour is a murky hazy nontransparent translucent copper-orange of below average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.
Not unique or special.
Sm: Wet cardboard, stale biscuit malt, light acetic character, vague wood (with none of the evocative character of oak), light sourness/funkiness, light sour apple, and a generic maltiness - but nowhere near the malty sweetness you'd expect from an English Barleywine. No hop character, alcohol, or yeast character is detectable. Infection is suspected. I really want more from the oak. Nothing mentioned in Ranger Creek's description is emerging here (No: caramel, toffee, ripe fruit, leather, or spice). The difference between the aroma and Ranger Creek's description definitely indicates infection.
An inoffensive aroma of average strength. I'm wary.
T: Definite bacterial sourness along with some fruity notes - especially sour apple. Has a light doughy yeast character as well. Biscuit malt, brown malt, caramalts. Vague oak, but it's not evocative or rich; if you're looking for a good oak-aged barleywine, look elsewhere. No toffee, leather, or spice. Very light acetic character. English hops lend some ripe fruit notes. Has some alcohol presence, but I wouldn't call it boozy or hot. Fair complexity. No real subtlety. Not at all gestalt. Wet cardboard on the finish.
To be frank, I absolutely think it's infected. But the beer isn't a complete train wreck; the sourness isn't bad. Sure, it's an absolute mess - there's no balance or cohesion at all - but it doesn't taste as off as it very well could.
Somewhat shallow depth of flavour for the style. Average duration of flavour. Below average intensity of flavour.
Horrible for an English Barleywine, but merely subpar when viewed outside of any style. If we view it as a sour, it's merely bad - not awful.
Mf: The texture is as much as a mess as the the taste. Rough at some points, harsh at others, dry, coarse, smooth, and wet - it's hard to describe since it isn't uniform. Certainly far from pleasant or refreshing. Overcarbonated, but not biting. It's a bit buttery in the second act. Doesn't suit the flavour profile at all, except by matching its chaos.
Not soft, oily, boozy, hot, or astringent.
Dr: Having had a couple of these small batch series beers now, I can say with confidence that the cats at Ranger Creek's barrel aging program do not have their shit together. This is a grand failure of a purported English Barleywine, and it's only incidental that it's at all drinkable. Even then, it's subpar. Unacceptable at $6.99 USD a pop. I certainly wouldn't get it again, and I'll be wary of Ranger Creek's other barrel aged beers in the future. Too bad I have a couple others in me fridge. I'd strongly recommended avoiding this one, and my view of Ranger Creek is getting more and more negative. Terrible for the targeted style.
Serving type: bottle
10-09-2013 03:03:55 | More by kojevergas
1.5/5 rDev -55.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1
This one was definitely infected. I have high hopes for Ranger Creek. The potential for their barrel aging program seems to be incredible for them, and I hope to see them do well in the future... But as for this beer, it went straight down the drain.
Serving type: bottle
05-14-2013 20:39:23 | More by Cvescalante
2.65/5 rDev -22.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75
Poured a 12oz waxed bottle into a Duvel tulip. Handwritten bottle date of 10-9-12. Stored at 50 degrees in my wine fridge since Christmas. Rumors of infection for Small Batches 3 & 4. Let's see if I tempted fate by sitting on this for six months.
A: Dark, cloudy orange with a towering off-white 4-finger head. Head takes a long time to settle as it finally settles into a thin rim leaving sticky lacing lines down the glass.
S: Sour and sour. Uh-oh. Brett funk and barrel come through as it warms up. Not much else.
T: Vinous sour note is up front. Earthy/spicy hops muted, but there. Oak and funk in the dry finish. Slight alcohol bitterness that warms as you sip.
M: Thick with the carb a little high for an English Barleywine.
O: Was hoping for the best, but it looks like I ended up with an infected bottle. Too bad, because I think an uninfected bottle would more than likely be a hell of a beer. Totally missed the malt complexities due to infection. I missed SB 1 and had SB 2 on draught multiple times. I still have Small Batches 4 & 5 awaiting.
Serving type: bottle
05-12-2013 22:26:32 | More by videofrog
Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine from Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
78 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.