Wreck the Halls

Tried Full Sail‘s Wreck the Halls (a 2004 limited edition beer) this evening. For some reason, when I bought it (earlier this year), I was under the impression that it was a barleywine, but it only weighs in at 6.5% alcohol, much too low for a barleywine. BeerAdvocate classifies it as an American IPA, but I’m not sure I agree with this assessment; I didn’t get any of the usual IPA characteristics when drinking it.

It poured very orange-copper and crystal clear (until I hit the dregs at the bottom). Nice, just-off-white head. It’s not a heavily-hopped aroma, much more floral and maybe a bit of pine. Nothing dramatic.

Taste: mostly by impression, since I couldn’t identify any single thing: alcohol (you can taste the 6.5% there), floral hops (not really bitter at all; I’m thinking Cascade hops since they’re so citrusy and florally), sweet malt—in fact, it was almost too sweet for me. Not what I expected, I wondered if they used a liberal amount of Belgian candy sugar in the mix. Perhaps the over-sweetness was due to expecting a maltier, hoppier barleywine-type ale? A couple of the BeerAdvocate reviews agree with me on the sweetness, too.

Not terrible, not great (for me), I wouldn’t go out of my way for it, but worth the bottle to try.

RateBeer also has a review.