Sunday, December 21, 2014

Madhouse Barleywine 2014

The Madhouse Brewing Company originated in Newton, Iowa, and now have a new location in Des Moines. This is the 2014 vintage of their barleywine, coming in this year at 10.5% ABV. This year it was aged in Tennessee whiskey barrels.

The beer pours a deep and dark brown and ruby in color. There is a short head of beige foam. The aroma is oak, vanilla, sweet malt, brown sugar, and toffee. The taste follows the aromas, lots of oak, lots of sweet malts and sugars, dark caramel, toffee, a hint of nuttiness, very rich sweet flavors, but never getting overly sweet, vanilla. The whiskey lies in the background, as implied as explicit, but nicely there, adding nuances to all the flavors. The beer drinks smooth and round. The sweetness is always contained and the heavy oak actually brings it to a woody and astringent finish. The whiskey shows up more on the aftertaste than in the original flavors. The ABV is well hidden and provides only a subtle warming effect. Man, this is good. In 2013, this was aged in Cedar Ridge bourbon barrels. Now, Cedar Ridge bourbon is awesome, but those Tennessee whiskey barrels sure treated this beer right.

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