This review is the follow-up to my Tumble Off Pale Ale review from the other day, this time for the other beer my (Super! Good!) friend Kina sent me: Sled Wreck. This is Barley Brown’s seasonal barleywine, at somewhere between 10 and 11% alcohol, I believe—not a beer to drink in quantity. It’s also Kina’s new favorite beer so there’s no pressure or bias here.
Appearance: Murky brown, the color reminding me of Lipton’s Iced Tea, or shoe polish. The head (still decently carbonated after being in a growler) is a nice beige-tan.
Smell: It’s the syrupy-sweet smell of a barleywine, with extra hops. Caramel, maple, alcohol, plum, and that hint of Northwest hops… they must like those at Barley Brown’s.
Taste: Classic barleywine with an extra hop buzz to it. Sweet malt, very dark fruit, the pleasant heat from the alcohol, burnt sugars, twiggy, floral hop twang. The hops are unexpected; they don’t unbalance the profile but they are noticeable.
Mouthfeel: Nice and firm, not quite chewy. Pleasant residual sweetness and alcohol contrasting with each other.
Overall it’s a pretty good beer. The only quibble I have is with the hops; it’s not strongly hopped enough to consider it an "American barleywine" like a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot or something from Stone Brewing, it’s much more English/traditional with the hops added as a seeming afterthought. But that’s okay, they’ve brewed a more-than-drinkable beer here.
There’s no BeerAdvocate page for this beer, but there is one on RateBeer, with one review: the reviewer only scored it 2.8 out of 5 and incorrectly classified it as a "Spice/Herb/Vegetable" beer. What’s up with that?