Today is my birthday! And as is traditional with the Brew Site Beer Advent Calendar, today’s beer is entirely a vanity pick: it may not be a Christmas beer per se (or at all), but it’s one I pick “for myself” and it’s always something special. For this year, since I have a soft spot for barleywines, and for Oregon breweries (who would have guessed?), I’ve picked Pelican Pub & Brewery‘s Mother of All Storms: a huge bourbon-barrel aged barleywine that is released once a year by the Pacific City brewery and is extremely limited—a single bottle of this 13.5% abv beer retails for $25 and before this year was (I believe) only available from the brewery itself.
There are many storms out there, all of them perfect in their own way. But there is only one Mother of all Storms and it only happens in Pacific City, Oregon. Based on Stormwatcher’s Winterfest, our English-style barleywine, Mother of all Storms spent many months aging in Kentucky bourbon barrels. Now at its peak, Mother of all Storms delivers deep flavors of toasted malt, bourbon and oak. The finish rewards with whispers of vanilla, toffee and caramel. Best enjoyed with gusts exceeding 60 mph.
This 2011 vintage is comprised of 2010 Stormwatcher’s Winterfest aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels; previous vintages were aged in Evan Williams bourbon barrels. (Previous years’ vintages were named “The Perfect Storm” which had to be changed due to trademark issues.) The Stormwatcher’s Winterfest is a fantastic beer on its own, rich and malty and lush, already hard to improve. But the barrel aging under the deft hand of Brewmaster Darren Welch puts “Mother” right over the top.