Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine - Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling

Not Rated.
Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style BarleywineSmall Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine

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BA SCORE
78
okay

65 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 65
Reviews: 13
rAvg: 3.37
pDev: 27.89%
Wants: 3
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This vintage ale undergoes a 3 hour boil to create a complex layer of malt character including caramel, toffee, ripe fruit, and leather. The floral and earth-toned Kent Goldings hops add a soft background of spice giving depth to the malt flavors and providing an overall balance. It has been aged for 6 months in oak barrels to allow time for this big beer to mature and mellow. At 10% ABV, it’s made to be laid down like a fine wine. If stored properly this barleywine should keep well for upwards of 10 years. Drink one now, save more for later!

(Beer added by: DRyan on 11-10-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 65 | Reviews: 13 | Display Reviews Only:
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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.

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2.38/5  rDev -29.4%
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.

D+

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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.

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Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine from Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
78 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.