Barley wines are traditionally hefty brews, but ours is downright excessive. The huge maltiness of this beer is only tamed by an equally prodigious addition of hops, creating a rich, slightly sweet, caramel-hued ale infused with assertive bitterness and bright hop notes, all culminating in a pleasing dryness.
We make small adjustments to the recipe every year, just a little bit...as it provides an opportunity to try some different hops or malts. For the 2012 release, we made a deliberate effort to move away from the English hop influence of the past few years, taking out the East Kent Golding hops, subbing in a blend of American Chinook, Calypso and Cascade. This is the first use of Cascade in one of our beers, and we really enjoyed the hints of grapefruit and pine it contributed to the aroma and flavor.
Then we aged it in White Wine Oak Barrels, because we can. Vanilla, wine tannins, and an oaky bitterness undertones found their way in.