There’s nothing quite like a big 22-ounce bomber of barleywine to get a nice buzz on. That’s the size of the bottle Deschutes Brewery‘s Mirror Mirror special reserve comes in, which I drank last night. It’s a big beer in a big bottle, and it’s simply amazing. How’s that for a review?
Of Mirror Mirror, Deschutes says:
First brewed as a limited draft-only brand in 2004, this rendition of Mirror Mirror was good yet our brewers were hoping for more. So, in February 2005, Mirror Mirror was brewed again with amazing results. Aged four months in French Oak wine barrels, the beer continued to condition with a few days of dry hop prior to bottling in early 2006. Ten months of dedicated care have yielded a unique beer with hints of raisin and oak emerging from a rich malt base tinged with the slightest citrus hop aroma.
It’s also an extremely limited production; I will likely pick up some more before it’s gone, and put it into storage.
Anyway, on to my notes:
Appearance: Murkey red-copper, very thin head, as appropriate—there shouldn’t be a lot of carbonation in a barleywine. Very nice to look at.
Smell: The characteristic barleywine-strength of alcohol; hops hit the nose too.
Taste: Excellent. Strong alcohol warmth/bitterness over the Mirror Pond malt profile (which makes sense as it is largely a double-strength Mirror Pond); the hops are there, but playing second fiddle to the strength of the alcohol. It’s malty, darkish, with rich biscuit overtones and a definite oak character, not unlike a bourbon cask (or so I imagine). Very, very good.
Mouthfeel: Very much full-bodied and thick without being chewy (like a stout). Smooth. It stays with you after.
Overall, it’s pretty darn near the perfect barleywine for me. I will definitely be buying more.