Espresso Barleywine – Innis & Gunn (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Espresso Barleywine – Innis & Gunn, 8.4% ABV, 330 ml., (Edinburgh, Scotland)

on the back label:

This robust, oak-aged barleywine has been infused with coffee beans that have been roasted and ground to our own specifications. We’ve finished the brew with an infusion of cardamom, mace and cloves, to create a very full-bodied, warming brew, perfect for enjoying by a fire as the colder nights draw in.


  • Style: (flavoured – coffee bean, cardamom, mace, clove) Barley Wine
  • Taste: Sickly sweet syrupy liquid barley malt mace-clove coffee syrup gag reflex
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $4.15 CAD (after 20% off) – 330 ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: what?? no way

Visual: Pours very dark brown with barely any head, a centered island and ringed retention, sporadic fast and slow bubbles surfacing.

Nose: aromatic mace-clove-cardamom, soft roasted coffee beans, alcohol nasal tingliness. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming heavy sugars, thicker viscosity

Mid-palate: syrupy (lvl-9-sweetness), alcoholic heavy, liquid barley malt, mace-clove-light cardamom

Finish: lingering gagging sickly sweetness, coffee syrup

Summary: All the spices are there as well as the coffee, but I find the thing to be just too darn sweet and heavy. I can handle sweet things but this particular brew causes a mildly offensive gag reflex near the finish. Not smooth and one of their worst that I’ve ever had – good aroma but ultimately disappointing.

Apex Barleywine 2015 – Bomber Brewing Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Apex Barleywine 2015 – Bomber Brewing Company, 10% ABV – 86 IBU, 650 ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the front-left label:

“A Canadian winter is a time of traditions, from the first day on the slopes to the last game of shinny. We wait all year for the time to be right, as we’ve awaited the apex barleywine. Aged in cabernet franc barrels, and made with over 15 malts and mountainous hops, this brew is worthy of a tradition of its own.”


  • Style: (Vintage) Barleywine
  • Taste: Stealth alcoholic thick and sweet caramel barley malt with dark fruit dry woody finish
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Bby
  • How much: $10.60 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 650 ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not in particular

Visual: 2015 Vintage. Pours opaque reddish-brown with almost no head, a half island ringed retention, slow and steady singular streams.

Nose: sweet toffee-caramelized barley malt, berry-dark fruit overtones. (lvl-5)-intensity

Attack: incoming fruity hefty malts

Mid-palate: background light tangy, (lvl-8-sweetness), thick caramel barley malts, plum-dark fruit, alcoholic zingy

Finish: alcoholic heat, residual tangy, dry woody, residual dark fruity

Summary: This one hit pretty hard, stealth-like. It went down pretty easy as a sipper, good body and decent depth. No real memorable flavours, but the Cab Franc barrels definitely did impart some grapey/dark fruit flavs.

Central City / Parallel 49 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar Day #22 – Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine Bourbon Barrel Aged


Central City/Parallel 49 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar Day #22

Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine Bourbon Barrel Aged – Central City Brewing, 11.5% ABV – 330ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada)

on the front-left label:

“Our limited edition Bourbon Barrel aged Thor’s Hammer is matured for 1 full year. Mahogany in colour, this award-winning barley wine is crafted from the finest barley malt exuding deep, rich notes of dried fruit, plum and figs with a walnut ester. Decant to remove the sediment of lees. Enjoy lightly chilled now or cellar for 5 years or more.”


  • Style: (bourbon barrel-aged)Barley Wine
  • Taste: Sweet dark plum-prune fruity caramel-toffee malt soft alcohol warmth
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, delicious

Visual: Pours cloudy reddish brown with no head and a few bubbles surfacing, super thin micro bubble ringed retention, suspended micro sediment.

Nose: caramel oaked sweet barley malt, raisin. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: thick viscosity, crisp-oily

Mid-palate: alcohol heaviness, (lvl-8)-sweetness, (MAIN) bourbon, biscuity caramel-toffee malt, plum-prune dark fruity

Finish: sweet bourbon oaked maltiness, subtle bitter, soft alcohol warmth, walnut exhale.

Summary: Incredibly smooth for a 11.5%’er, lots of bold flavour with a decent slick-crisp mouthfeel. A tad cloying halfway through, especially at the finish. An all-around solid brew; I have yet to try the non-barrel aged version, looking forward to it.

Phillips Snowcase 2015 Calendar Day #12 – Trainwreck Barley Wine 2015


Phillips Snowcase 2015 Calendar Day #12

Trainwreck Barley Wine 2015 – Phillips Brewing, 10.0% ABV – 341ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

on the front-right label:

“Here’s a little something to stoke your boiler. This year’s barley wine is full of rich malt flavours and mildly carbonated. Trainwreck should be served at cellar temp (8C) [cellar temp should actually be 13C/55F]. Careful not to derail your caboose.”


  • Style: Barley Wine
  • Taste: Thicker alcoholic sweet caramel roasted barley malt
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: solid, but not noteworthy.

Visual: Pours beer bottle brown with barely any head, a very thin layer of micro retention, lots of large CO2 fast streams.

Nose: brown sugar, caramel malts. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: thick viscosity, micro fizzy, boozy-tangy

Mid-palate: (lvl-8)-sweetness mixed with alcohol detection, sustained creamy, (MAIN) brown sugar, toasty-roasty barley malts

Finish: dark fruit, alcohol bitterness, alcohol throat warmth, dry hoppy bitterness, malty sweet finish.

Summary: Plenty of very sweet and alcoholic malts in this one. Some complexity in texture and alcoholic jolt, decently rounded. I probably won’t specifically remember this one but it was solid.