Saturday, April 4, 2015

Madhouse Gnarlywine

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 that they aged in port barrels from their sister company, the Jasper Winery.  It comes in at 13.0% ABV. There is also a 2014 vintage of their barleywine that was aged in Tennessee whiskey barrels.

The beer pours medium dark brown, with hints of orange and ruby. There is a short head of off-white foam with some small, soapy bubbles. The aroma is dark fruits, toffee, with some nuttiness, with the port wine coming in softly on the tail end. There is also a bit of woodiness from the barrel. The taste takes all of the notes from the aromas and mixes them together in a surprisingly congruous meld. I was at first skeptical of a barleywine aged in port barrels as opposed to some type of whiskey, but the dark fruits of the port go well with this barleywine. The finish has a dry, woody, astringency. The beer drinks smooth and round. As it warms, more and more of the port comes through, dark, juicy raisins, notes of zinfandel.

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