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First Barleywine Tasting

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by notchucknorris, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. I'm doing my first barleywine tasting tomorrow and wanted some advice. First of all, I'll list the beers, but should the order matter? I was thinking of starting with the most straight forward ones (Old Guardian, Bigfoot) and then moving to some of the rarer ones (Sucaba, MOAS). Also, do you guys like to have some kind of food (or something else) in between so that your palate isn't completely shot by the third beer? Anyways, here's the list and thanks in advance for the help!

    Marin Old Dipsea
    Stone Old Guardian
    Dogfish Head Olde School '06
    Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws '10
    Firestone Sucaba
    Pelican Mother of All Storms '11
    Alaskan Barleywine '09
    Sierra Bigfoot '12
    Uinta Cockeyed Cooper
    Hangar 24 Hammerhead
  2. theCoder

    theCoder Savant (320) Minnesota Oct 24, 2011

    I personally would go American Style to English Style. But that's me, I'd like to start out hoppy and bitter and go towards sweet. Mind you a lot of the English Style tend to be boozier. I only know a few in this list but I can tell you the Alaskan isn't going to blow any minds even aged it gains minimal if anything IMO.
  3. TheBeerDad

    TheBeerDad Savant (325) Michigan Sep 6, 2012

    Throw in a bigfoot '13 for the hell of it, show what a year does.
    LeeMarvin likes this.
  4. Damn, I was hoping that Alaskan was going to be tasty. Oh well. I'm sure there will be at least a few stinkers in there. Bigfoot '13 is a pretty good idea. I may have to go with that. Thanks for the help, guys.
  5. Domingo

    Domingo Champion (945) Colorado Apr 23, 2005

    With big beers like those you'll definitely want some food and water around. Cheese plates, chips and dip, cold cuts and crackers, or even just pizza.
    Random plug, but the Dry Dock Bligh's is one worth hunting down for barleywine tastings. The 2011 one is especially terrific, but the 2012 is a lot easier to trade for.
    KevSal likes this.
  6. I would save the American styles for later. I prefer English BWs, so it would be unfair to the American beers, but the hops on something like Bigfoot '12 (and you should pick up a '13 to go with) are still so aggressive, you could wreak havoc on your palate.

    Also, I would do the '06 DFH first. You want to be able to enjoy every facet of that better, plus, if anyone isn't familiar to aged beers and oxidation, that will be the best candidate to demonstrate those flavors.
  7. bobv

    bobv Advocate (515) Vermont Feb 3, 2009

    A log of Gose as a palate cleanser is the only way to go.
  8. premierpro

    premierpro Savant (290) Michigan Mar 21, 2009

    I am suprised that you did not like this. I have only had Alaskan's Barly Wine one time and enjoyed it.
  9. theCoder

    theCoder Savant (320) Minnesota Oct 24, 2011

    Its not that I didn't enjoy it, it just didn't blow me away. It was solid and when I tried it cellared with comparing it to fresh I saw no improvement. So its one I would drink again, not going to buy it or if I do I'm drinking it fresh so I don't waste the space in my cellar. That being said I very much prefer English Style Barleywines. As far as American Ones go Alaskan I enjoyed probably most aside from cellared Bigfoot. So take my words with a grain of salt, but this was one of the very few BW I saw absolutely no change with age.
  10. FosterJM

    FosterJM Champion (825) California Nov 16, 2009

    Put the hoppy americans 1st, then go english, then go barrel aged.
    Have food, water, dump buckets and lots of snacks around.

    Cheers!
  11. I'd be uncomfortably hammered after that tasting...assuming you're tasting more than a few oz of each.

    I recommend pairing the sweeter barleywines with a nice blue cheese. That's a go-to pairing in my house.
  12. premierpro

    premierpro Savant (290) Michigan Mar 21, 2009

    I too prefer English Barley Wines.
  13. jaIsPoAn

    jaIsPoAn Savant (375) New York Aug 1, 2012

    That DFH 06 is gonna be sick!!!!!
  14. i'm very jealous
  15. rmalinowski4

    rmalinowski4 Savant (330) Illinois Oct 22, 2010

    I would recommend dates (the fruit) to pair with barleywines. They work really well together.
  16. homebrew311

    homebrew311 Advocate (550) Illinois May 19, 2008

    The most important advice about a barleywine tasting has nothing to do with tasting order. It has to do with pace and length of time. I was involved in one 2 years ago and literally every beer was 12+%, if you want to remember your evening, take your time!
  17. AGREE. This year's Bigfoot is so drinkable it's scary. My first barleywine back in '94, and still one of my go-to's.
  18. Douggo

    Douggo Aficionado (235) Minnesota Oct 24, 2009

    For me, it depends upon whether I was likely to be drunk at the end. If so, I wouldn't put ┬žucaba or MOAS there.
    laymansbeerfan likes this.
  19. Domingo

    Domingo Champion (945) Colorado Apr 23, 2005

    Yup! DFH brought an '04 to the Denver Rare Beer tasting 2 years ago, making it similar. It was terrific.
    jaIsPoAn likes this.
  20. Appreciate the help, guys. And yes, I'm definitely looking forward to that '06.

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