Thursday, October 20, 2011

Full Sail Brewing Company 2010 Reserve Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale

I have previously posted about Full Sail Brewing Company and its Bump in the Night Cascadian Dark Ale. Full Sail is an employee owned brewery located near the Hood River.  The brewery is probably best known for its Session beers; however, I have found its unique offerings, such as the Cascadian Dark Ale, to be rather interesting.  Recently, I purchased the 2010 Reserve Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale.

I have previously opined at length about barleywine ales.  The style is rather interesting.  There are two polar opposites ... English Barleywine and American Barleywine.  These opposites are also malt (English Barleywine) and hops (American Barleywine).

Full Sail describes its Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale as a "deliciously rich barleywine ale with spectacular depth & delicacy of flavor that is deep and robust."  The brewer adds, "it's full, sweet body is balanced with Centennial and Crystal hops for a pleasant hoppiness & finish."  This description is largely accurate.  The barleywine pours a rather dark amber in color, with a lot of carbonation for a barleywine.  The foam does recede and the beer does settle down.  

As for the aromatic and taste elements, the Old Boardhead Barleywine combines elements of both American and English Barleywines, although it leans a little more toward the former rather than the latter.  There is definitely a citrusy, pine aroma from the beer, which is much more prominent than the malt or bread aromas that characterize English barleywines.  There is a sweetness to the aroma and the taste, which is most likely contributed by the malts.  However, that sweetness is still overpowered by the piney flavors of the hops.  

If the beer was cellared for a year or two, I would probably have to write a whole different review.  The passage of time would probably mellow the hops and allow the sweetness and malts to shine through.


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