Tail Wagger Barley Wine | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Tail Wagger Barley WineTail Wagger Barley Wine
Very Good
67 Ratings
Tail Wagger Barley WineTail Wagger Barley Wine

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cokes on 10-04-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 |  Reviews: 65
Photo of Atron67
4.77/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

thanks to asmokinggoat for one of these in our trade!

A- pours a crystal clear copper red, similiar to an irish red. almost no head on the pour but not surprising considering it is a big beer with such age on it.

S- some strong malt characteristics, but its really has some delicious smelling sherry and cherry notes on it now. hops are all gone, the light oxidation notes give it a little sweetness to the smell.

T- incredibly smooth, outstanding light sherry flavors, very smooth, a malty complexity that is just really nice.

M- smooth, low carbonation, full body, very nice on the tongue

D- just amazing right now

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Photo of Bighuge
4.48/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Crystal clear copper appearance. Thin off white head leaves sparse lace. CO2 bubbles surface at a slow to moderate rate. The aroma leads one to believe that this will be a hop-driven barleywine. Greasy, oily hop resins. Pungent cannabis. Smoky and tarry. Pretty nice. When the nectar finally hits the tongue, you find out there's more to this beer than hops. The malts are very sturdy and quite rich. Golden Promise was used quite extensively for this one and the richness comes through. The hops still contribute on the palate, but less of the pungent, oily character and more of the herbal, flowery and citric variety. Alcohol is noticeable, moreso on the aftertaste, but in reality is hidden quite nicely during the drinking. The richness of the malts agree with??? cover up?? The alcohol that is present. For $6.29 a six pack, you just cannot go wrong with this one. Should age for 5 or more years gracefully as well.

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Photo of merlin48
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle pours a clear copper body with a creamy, one finger tan head. Retention is only fair, but leaves attractive patches of lace behind.

Complex aroma opens with an English style maltiness. Waves of malty molasses, toffee, and caramel please the nose. Some sweet and fruity pineapple and orange marmalade add to the delight. Hops lend an earthy and herbal note.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and chewy. Low carbonation adds to the smoothness. A bit of warming alcohol, as expected.

Taste features toffee, rum, and tropical fruits marinaded in Calvados apple brandy. Earthy hops bitterness compliments the serious malt complexity.

Very tasty and well balanced. An ideal sipper that is an excellent example of an English style barleywine. Thanks to kmpitz2 for the sample.

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Photo of mbrasi
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005 Vintage: Pours cloudy orange with floaties. Aroma is sweet, citrus and alcohol. Flavor is good, sweet with a smooth malt flavor. The malt has mellowed with age and made this beer into a smooth drinking slightly sweet brew with just a little bite. Alcohol is hardly noticable in the flavor. Carbonation has faded away as well as the hop profile. This brew handles ages nicely and I'm glad I got a couple more to enjoy later.

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Photo of Skidz
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out bright golden amber and sits a brilliant ruby tinted amber with a large, creamy off-white head. Absolutely beaming through the glass. Head fades to a thin skimming with a few minor lacings.

Smells of toasted figs and plump, golden raisins. Drooping pears and spiced apples. Snags of sharp, lemon tinged, grassy hues produced through the hoppy background.

Tastes moderately sweet up front, depths of toasted grains throughout. Browning apples mix with dates and caramel soaked raisins. Sweetness dissolves into a rush of spicy, herbal hops giving way to pepper and bright leafy flavors. Alcohol only minorly noted in the moderately bitter finish.

Smooth, creamy and fluid body pronounced with fine and delicate carbonation that takes you to its limits. Body can be described as medium-full.

Not only am I impressed with the ease and drinkability of this beer, but I'm also impressed with its affordablility. When most barleywines are thrown out for special releases and given an elevated price-standing, this blows them all away on those regards alone. A case will cost you less than $30. Why not enjoy as much of this as you can, it certain is worth enjoying.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear crimson coloration, thick, creamy head, slow to settle, very impressive apprearance. Lovely.

Aroma is sweet and rosey, notes of cherries, berries, grape, apple, melon,...wide open and gorgeous...big malty feel, voluminous, velvety, viscissitudinous... (??)

Delciousness from the start, sweet and smooth, creamy and bold. Fruity factor continues from the nose, blended with blissfull, huge malt. Golden Promis. Little hops,(East Kent Goldings) and creeping alcohol content (once again, New Glarus doesn't tell us, so we're left guessing.)

Dynamic flavor, mellow mouthfeel, classy, sophisticated taste, overall a genius beer, leaving me wishing I had a case to last me a year or three, not just the one bottle for tonight.

I like this quite a bit. I'd like to like it more. I'll have to lovingly indulge these last few ounces in the glass. And hope I get to try another, someday.

Most impressive.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Faro for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a slightly cloudy grapish color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy off-white head, which then left some islands and sticky lacing. The nose is sweet, malty, slightly oaky, bourbon, and a nice touch of caramel. The taste is sweet, and malty, nice touch of oak/bourbon. The mouthfeel is slightly oil, nice warming effect from the alcohol. Medium body. Very drinkable, a very tasty English Barley Wine, highly recommended.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

picked up a sixer at sadhanna wine shop, they had cases stacked on cases

appearance: pours a pale amber/orange color, with a mild creamy head and pretty good lacing...fairly see through...it just all around looks great in my tulip!

smell: mmm, lemony hops are in the air, alcohol...the usual barleywine odors of dark fruits are present as well

taste: pretty impressive...sour apples, fig, raisins, plums, toasty malts balanced out by some zesty hops, oak, huge alcohol warming sensation. Some english ipa's i have had have been pretty offensive but this is a pretty solid beer.

mouthfeel: medium bodied, creamy, warming

drinkability: not sure what the abv is on this one but it taste like the 10-12% neighborhood. very tasty and pretty easy to kick back

as mentioned, its pretty great how cheap this stuff is (7 or 8 bucks a 6 pack i think)....im glad this isnt an unplugged beer, maybe it will hang around for a while

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Photo of bubrewer
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This crystal clear, copper colored beer is very lightly carbonated (as expected), and has suprisingly little sediment for a bottle conditioned bottle.

There is less caramel character and a slightly lighter body than many barleywines. I welcome this departure, as I find others to be too thick and sweet. Aroma is mostly alcohol, with a little pineapple and maybe plums.

I find a peaty, earthy character that may be the EKG hops that are supposed to be there, but there is definitely a resinous character of PNW hops. Bitterness is pleasantly sharp and balances the sweetness of the malt. Although this one is quite fresh, being brought straight from the brewery, I suspect it could cellar well as the hops fade and allow the malt to come forward.

Sadly, I'm a long way from where New Glarus distributes, or I would stock up on this and cellar a bunch.

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Photo of cokes
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glassy cider bronze with a soiled butter creme froth.
Odored of wet iron, lemon-herb cough drops, toffee, stale muffins, and blood.
Begins with a deep and pervasive toffee malt magma. In tow are caramel and butterscotch, and wisps of gummy fruitiness via golden raisins, peaches, and starfruit. Semi-drier and breadier in the middle with a quick mouth-filling sponge of buttery French bread. At this point, malt ensures that it is the featured back here. But hopping is by no means minor, full of wintergreen, rust, raw grass, lemonpepper, and eucalyptus. Some wandering brown sugar coated pears linger past the swallow.
The body is medium-full with a shy carbonation. Given what it contains, it remains thoroughly consumable.
This gives Fuller's Vintage a run for its money, and given that a 6pack of Tail Wagger goes for about the same price as a single of Vintage, the choice is easy.

Update: 2+ years later, and my supply is dwindling. It's aging beautifully. It's more or less the same, with deeper Scotch-like malt and booze nuances. I can't believe that this sold for less than $7 a sixer (and less than $6 at a couple places, during specials). I bought 2 cases and now I feel stupid for not securing more. This was great fresh, is great after a couple years, and will go strong for the foreseeable furture.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New Glarus Tail Wagger Barley Wine is best served at cellar temperatures (50-55F) from a brandy or cognac snifter. Tail Wagger pours up quickly smart with ample carbonation creating a medium, cream colored head that collapses rather quickly under the alcoholic weight. This deep copper-orangish amber colored barleywine is very bright & appealing to the senses. The aroma is definitely tilted to the caramel-sweet malty side, but there's plenty of fruitiness e.g. dried apricots, Seville orange, lemon meringue pie, etc... & some signature East Kent Golding floral hop character that comes through all of that nougaty malt. The flavor starts-off just as fruity with plenty of sweet-bread character and lots of rich toffee & caramel notes along with a cashew nuttiness. The maltiness has a clearly defined cracker-like toastiness that adds an extra dimension to this grain fed monster. There's a modest amount of underlying bitterness that seems to evenly keep check and prevents this one from being too cloying. The finish is smooth & warming with a spiced rum-laced kick. This full-bodied English-style barleywine is a rich & chewy, caramel dominated treat that has a suppleness that's sure to keep any sophisticated palate entertained and keep any old dog's "tail wagging" for more. Definitely worth seeking out if you're a malt lover!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had some good beers by New Glarus, but none better than this. A very complex and easy drinking Barley Wine. Very sweet and syrupy even to the nose. The viscous pour releases a film that rides the rim of the sniffer. Equally as sweet and viscous to the mouth. Ripe and over-ripened fruit flavors (fruit cake) in abundance. Molassas-like flavors with honey and cane sugar. Heavy and coating texture-nearly makes the teeth hurt. finishes very sweet and very dry with an alcoholic evaporative quality. It's everything that you don't want in other beers--and I like it that way.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle obtained via trade

pours a reddish orange and crystal clear- similar to a bourbon in appearance. the thinnest possible ring surrounds the surface and lacing is granular at best.. some bubbles hovering through the body.

nose is sweet and burnt malty. musk and alcohol dance with candied fruit. hops add a bit of detectable citrus among the big boy barleywine notes. pleasant odor that reminds me of winters past.

flavor is different though.. alot brighter and fresher.. young. starts with a carbonation zip and leads right into tartness from fresh hop oils and milled grains. excitement settles into a brown sugar sweetness with a sugary grapefruit breakfast in the finish. different and excellent.

mouthfeel is a bit zippy and should lie a bit stiller. regardless, does not really impede the enjoyment of this brew.

$10 a 6 pack? one of the best barleywine values i've ever seen. big thanks to... umm.. tavernjef? for the chance to try this. send more.

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Photo of Overlord
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Mbrasi for the extra. I really enjoyed this. Shame it's apparently retired.

Pours a sludgy, hazy deep amber with some orange highlights. Tan foam head.

Smells like ... caramel cookie dough. Taste is a bready, yeasty, malty, brown sugary sweetness. Mmmmm... Maybe a bit of balancing grapefruit, but this is primarly malt heaven. Somehow, it doesn't become cloying.

Very nice sticky mouthfeel.

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Photo of UncleFlip
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Caramel-orange, with a thin off white head.

Smell is grainy/malty...quite like the smell inside the brewery where it's made.

Taste is very pungent malt (as I would expect), with hops that hit at a decent level. A little bitter on the end.

Liquid is thick, with tight carbonation that hits right up front, but fades away.

An easy drinker, though maybe a bit thick for some. Not bad at all.

Be well

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: A 12 ounce standard brown glass bottle that has a high quality cream colored cartridge type paper with a dark brown picture and lettering with the words ‘New Glarus Brewing Co. Tail Wagger’ emblazoned across it. Dark green and brass colored crown cap. Cream colored neck label that simply says ‘Barley Wine’. No strength or freshness listed.

Appearance: Exceptionally clear dark copper brown body with hints of chestnut. The first pour produces a 1” deep off-white uniform head, it looked great in my McEwan’s Scotch Ale Thistle Goblet, but sadly it all disappeared far too soon. Thin whispy head leaves only a broken halo and no lacing. However, a gentle swirl reveals a sturdy conditioning.

Nose: Biscuit malts with some oily pine driven hops. Has a light fruity essence with some toffee and butterscotch. A little medicinal.

Taste: Toasted malts with some toffee and alcoholic caramel lay low but the hops really take this to a new level. Touches of sweetness never take control. Warming at first, especially on the tongue, has a thermo swallow that gently raises the temperature in the epiglottis. The swallow also reveals a pungent hoppy alcohol vapor which rises back up the throat and nose to warm the nostrils. Even the burps

Mouthfeel: Warming effervescent and smooth. The alcohol dominates a little too much but the high oily bitterness rescues and balances the high octane nicely.

Drinkability: Has a little too much heat and strength to take a full six pack down, but I could manage a few bottles and do some damage with a few of these for sure.

Overall: I chose my McEwan’s Scotch Ale goblet by accident, yet it seems suited for this one has some warming traits from a good Scotch Ale mixed with the classic aspects of a very English Barley Wine in its profile. Damn tasty and bloody drinkable.

As usual, I have to thank my personal New Glarus supplier BigHuge for this one.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jj21 for this brew off my Wants. Bottle was brewed in the Fall of 05 (thanks to jj21 for the info!). Pours with a thin head. Has a malty and slightly boozy smell. The taste is not boozy at all IMO & is a very nice balance of malt with some sweetness. Mouthfeel is smooth & it is a drinkable brew. I will drink this slowly since this is an excellent English barleywine.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark reddish brown colored body with a good sized eggshell white cap of foam. Scattered speckles of lace were left around the glass. Sweet caramel and dark ripe fruit notes come out first in the aroma. There is also a nice hoppy citric bitterness going on as well. Flavor starts off with some sweet ripe dark fruit notes over some citric hop bitterness. Lightly warming alcohol with a touch of caramel. Finishes with a little alcohol and a nice bitter bite. Pretty hefty body enough so to support the flavor. Very easy drinking stuff for me. Perhaps one of the most drinkable Barley Wines I have had. Good stuff all around that is easy drinking.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle split and poured into a tasting glass. 2005 bottle - a twist-off New Glarus! Holy crap!

Big thanks to blackearth for surprising us with this one at his little tasting the other night!

A - Besides the random floaters to be expected with this much age, this was brilliantly clear and cherry mahogany in color. No head at all, it poured like syrup.

S - Tail Wagger starts with a heavily malted nose with scotch ale-like attributes. Lots of bready caramel and a tiny aroma of English-like hops. The alcohol is barely present with a sherry/port-like aroma.

T - Mellow alcohol notes with a port-like flavor spring out with light hop accents to the strong caramel and scotch ale maltiness.

M - With it's age, this is smooth and supple with a light alcohol kiss on the finish. Very nice feel.

D - At this age, this is basically a sessionable barleywine. No one is sure of the percentage, but it sure doesn't seem like any is there!

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Photo of jahred
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow - what a cheap ($10!) 6-pack of a barley wine from New Glarus? I hope this is good and worth a trip back to Madison.

Pours a dark reddish copper color a with thick off-white foam. Lots of pretty bubbles are rising to the top of the glass, despite the minimal carbonation of the beer.

I raiste my nose to the glass, and I'm greeted with fantastic aromas of fresh english hops. Grass, hay and expectations of bitterness. Honey and bready biscuit aromas round out the scent. Next I put the beer to my lips - chewy biscuit flavors greet me with quite a big hoppy
punch (East Kent Goldings?) in the aftertaste. The pleasant bitterness does well to balance the sweet malt flavors. The beer is still very fresh, but already quite tasty. Makes me appreciate the Golden Promise malt used for the beer (so sez the bottle). Gives this some time to mellow and will be even better. Now if only I had the willpower to save some.

beer is warming - caramel notes, lots of pretty white lace on glass

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Photo of pkkosmatka
4.16/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of tavernjef
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very clear pumpkin tinted copper color with a smallish softly firmed cap of light tan foam. Capping slips away quickly to a thin collaring and thinnly placed strings of minimal consistency.

Aroma is light to the nose with some chewy/gummy fruits that are melonish and dull. Some light notions of toffee, pear, apple, mint, and a whisp of medicinal cherry cough drops. Gains undesirably strong alcoholic phenols as it sits.

Taste is semi fruity with a sliding toffeish backing. Brimming warm tones abound and around a soothing malt profile of butterscotch, toffee, and lighter mixing raisin and fig. Delicately chewy in the fruits, doughy, breadish, and fulfillingly long in the finish with durably softened warmth, gradually darkening toffee, and pinches of brown sugar and oily mint. Nice finisher. Not much hops noticed here as the malts stay true to the English style. Perhaps a bit of tobacco breeze in the background under the mint. Akin to a great Scotch Ale without much cloying action. Quite nice.

Feel is smooth, silky, and warm. Very tender to the palate. Welcoming and nearly full, especially from midway to finish. Has a great crescendo in character. A very excellent sipper that grows and grows on ya. A definate showcase of the English variety Barleywine.

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Photo of badbeer
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Released October 2005. This review is it with a couple years on it.

Nice copper color with an off-white head that retains around the glass and leaves bits of lacing. Smell is quite nice; giving me whiffs of pineapple, caramel, toffee, a little dark fruit, and perhaps some brown sugar. Some definite signs of oxidation setting in; some nice pineapple and caramel join in to keep this one enjoyable. Perhaps a bit past its prime, but definitely still good. Medium carbonation, medium-full body; slightly sticky on the tongue. This is still a good sipping beer that I'm enjoying whilst the snow is falling outside. If you have any left, I'd recommend you give a bottle a try soon to determine whether you want to age it any longer (depends on what flavors you like in your barley wines).

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Photo of joedon
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprized to find this beer at a grocery store just a couple of blocks from the brewery in New Glarus. Only $6.49 for a six-pack which is amazing for a barley wine!

Immense ivory colored head with massive lace. Head has lots of staying power. Intense amber-gold color and is crystal clear.

Definite hoppy aromas mixed with grain. Very pleasant and a bit unexpected in a barley wine.

The flavor is not overpowering. Perhaps a bit under-hopped for the huge amount of malt flavor. Nicely sweet for this type of beer. After taste of raisins, caramel, and a bit of sour cherry.

Easy sipping beer; very nice for tonight (into the twenties).

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A few notes before reviewing: Tuck a couple of these away in your cellar for 3 years and they will make your mouth drool wildly with pleasure when you open them up.

Besure not to drink it too cold. This one really needs to warm to let out its full aroma.

Only $6.99 a sixer!!! Holy crap dude.

Appearance: Deep glistening amber. Off white – yellow head. Thin, short lived. No lacing.

Smell: Order a Stoli Martini extra dry, up with a lime. Drink 90% of it. As the last sip warms to room temperature and the lime begins to come apart in the last grams of vodka and H2O, stick your nose to the glass and inhale deeply. The scent that you get is very close to the smell of this barley wine.

As I explore the wine a bit more I pick up definite hints of something that I couldn’t make out until I read Cokes’ review…wet iron, that’s absolutely it. Also, lemon cough drop, raisons, and figs.

Taste: Sweet up front with immediate hits of fermented grains or potatoes. This guy tastes a bit like vodka too. It then gives way to figs, then pepper and leafy hops. Then the alcohol comes out pretty strong and dry in the finish, slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Like warm, watered down vodka. Warming and drying. Camouflaged carbonation that isn’t visually so apparent but really does a number to the lips and tip of the tongue.

Drinkability: Considering an abv above 10%, not to bad. If I was in the mood for some hard stuff, I down quite a bit of this. In most situations, however, I wouldn’t want more than one. I will reiterate that at roughly a buck a beer, this is insanely affordable so I might find myself drinking more than I think.

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Tail Wagger Barley Wine from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 67 ratings