This is a completely experimental beer. We took our Horn Dog Barley Wine and aged it in used Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey barrels for 13 months to give us a Barley Wine with a very distinctive flavor. Being that it was an experiment, we brewed a very limited amount (725 12oz bottles to be exact) and they can only be purchased at the brewery.
I’m pretty lucky to have received one of these, considering! The Horn Dog is a 10.5% barleywine that sounds pretty good on its own; this barrel-aged version is "only" 10% alcohol and I was definitely looking forward to it.
Appearance: No carbonation; pours a murky, oily cola brown. Very flat, unfiltered appearance.
Smell: Alcohol, wood, a medicinal smell, sweet yet astringent oily herbals of some sort. "Wormwood" keeps going through my mind. Dark, burnt molasses sweetness. Rubber? Like hot rubber…
Taste: Wow. There’s bitter, oaky must right up front, a blooming alcohol heat that spreads to the back of the throat. Like a whiskey, or a blended Scotch. After the first few sips, the malt sweetness complements the woody liquor notes. Smoky, there’s tobacco leaf there… oiled leather, dark maple, a bit of the mustiness reminiscent of old corn…
Mouthfeel: Thick and viscousy, a bit oily, lots of heat from alcohol brings whiskey to mind. Smooths out as you sip.
Overall: An amazingly complex beer that I enjoyed very much. Definitely worth picking up if there are any bottles left at the brewery—get several, and lay them down in your cellar to age.