Local Beer Preview: Haymarket Bourbon Barrel Aged Bollocks

Local Beer Preview: Haymarket Bourbon Barrel Aged Bollocks
Haymarket Barrel-Aged beers

Time to open and another strong beer after the improbable events of the past week. I have yet another that has been sent to me by the brewers.

This is the second beer that Haymarket Pub & Brewery has sent me to commemorate its participation in the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Brewing. The first one was a barrel-aged dopplebock, Cold Dark Night, which I wrote about here. Now I'm popping open Bollocks, a 12% Englsih style Barley Wine made with Chinook and Saaz hops, Maris Otter, Dark Crystal and Munich malts - aged in Woodford Reserve barrels. It's been offered occasionally at the Chicago taproom, and has now been canned at Haymarket's production brewery in Bridgman, MI.

The main thing I think of as I open this is that I've gotta get into more of these barleywines when they're fresh. They taste more like big malty beers and less like old wine. This one had a big, heady sherry (okay, that's a wine) and bourbon smell under the cap. Pouring it into a glass lets more of the alcohol vapors get into my nose, along with dried plum and raisin, tobacco, and Encyclopædia Britannica leather.

The taste is equally fruity, with a bit of barrel tannins and vanilla, but the malt and alcohol are found in equal, stronger parts. Sometimes I regret that I've got some barleywines I put away 15 or more years ago and never tried fresh. But the feeling will pass. Since I got two cans of these bad boys, I will end up putting the second away for a while and see if I can refer back to this article for comparison.

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