Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine - Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
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Ratings: 63 | Reviews: 13 | Display Reviews Only:
1.5/5 rDev -55.9%
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.
05-14-2013 20:39:23 | More by Cvescalante
2.38/5 rDev -30%
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.
10-09-2013 03:03:55 | More by kojevergas
2.65/5 rDev -22.1%
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.
05-12-2013 22:26:32 | More by videofrog
2.98/5 rDev -12.4%
Just about every bottle I have had from Ranger Creek has been off in some way. If not outright infection, always something else. Lets see how this goes.
A: At first crack of the cap this is a small gusher. Not very encouraging. Foamy white head pours out. After a minute the head recedes to a small ring. Light lace is left. The color is incredibly murky and unpleasant orange/reddish.
S: Man, there is a lot going on here. I am not sure if I like it though. At first a huge acidic/sour fruit aroma. Sour apple, peach even. Light toasted malt and toffee. Peppermint and sweet hard candy. A lot going on here that I can't pick out, and does not mesh well for me.
T: Follows the nose. Just so much going on, it overwhelms the senses. A sour and acidic bite up front. Mostly apple skins. Very sweet, hard candy like flavors. Buttery malt peaks through after this warms. Nothing is really bad, just all over the place.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Though a bit thin for my tastes. The alcohol is noticeable, though not a big deal. Overall, I am not really enjoying the bottle.
I can't say there is anything "wrong" with this. I can't tell if there is an infection or this the way it is suppose to be. Though like everything else from Ranger Creek this is not as advertised. At worst, infection. At best, just a messy messy beer that has no structure.
01-07-2013 22:28:01 | More by champ103
3.35/5 rDev -1.5%
Poured into a tulip glass. I just came off #2. REALLY hoping for an upswing here...It pours very cloudy reddish brown with a very sticky, frothy tan head. This beer looks like its not going down without a fight. Smells of caramel, wood, and citrus. It has just a hint of hops and its making me thirsty. Like those pretzels. Taste is not as sweet as you'd expect. Lots of wood, leather. Not sweet at all, really. Interesting. There is a hint of citrus and flowers up front and then its all men's clothing store from there on in. Mouthfeel is chewy and nicely carbonated, more than I'd expect from the style but I like it. Definitely my favorite of the series. Interesting, but again I can't escape the feeling that they're just trying too hard.
11-28-2012 01:46:27 | More by roblowther
Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine from Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
78 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.