AleSmith Old Numbskull Barleywine: Day 4 of my Advent Calendar exchange with my father, this barleywine is brewed to a strength of 11% abv and literally had me falling asleep in my chair as I finished it. I love barleywines, they are one of my favourite styles so it was great to get one of these in my advent exchange. Be warned, this one packs a serious abv punch that will literally put you to sleep!
Aroma and Appearance: It pours a reddish amber colour with some centered carbonation and one finger of foam. The aroma is sweet candy toffee, fruity sweet concord grapes and currants with a general boozy overtone.
Flavour: Fairly boozy and earthy up front, some black currants, prunes, dried apricots and caramel in the middle and finally it finishes with a resinous bitterness and faint hints of brown sugar sweetness.
Overall Impression: It’s rare to see a full finger of foam on a barleywine, it had more carbonation than I was used to and it needed to sit out of the fridge for about 1.5 hours to get to the optimal drinking temperature. Quite a fussy drink, yet quite delightful too.
Rating: Excellent at 8/10.
Food Pairing: To go with the dark fruits and currants I suggest a mince pie or butter tart.
Here’s a good interview with Brewmaster Peter Zien, who is also the owner of AleSmith after purchasing it in 2002. He is a winner of like 400 home brew awards and this Brewery of the Year which is pretty awesome. This was three years ago, they show them hand bottling – yikes that must take a while!