Hale’s Ales, out of Seattle, brewed a “Special Limited Edition Release” Barleywine they called Rudyard’s Rare. According to the bottle, this was released in December 2007, which would make this a three-year-old beer; finding it at Whole Foods for $2.99 (for a 12-ounce bottle) makes that quite a good deal.
The beer itself is 9.2% alcohol by volume. I don’t know if there is going to be another brewing of Rudyard’s Rare, or if the 2007 vintage is going to be it; so you’d best grab some up if you come across it.
Appearance: Faint hiss on opening, pours almost still, brown color, murky with floaties.
Smell: Malty and boozy, with toffee and a touch of burnt sugar. Pretty nice nose and what I’d look for in a Barleywine.
Taste: Boozy up front too, with a surprising amount of woody hop character (still) going on; also oxidation and leathery malt notes. Some real nice flavors blending here; even the sherry-like oxidation gives a pleasant sipping quality.
Mouthfeel: Nice medium-full body with a sticky feel and a dry finish.
Overall: Pleasant, big, sippable.