Friday, January 28, 2011
Lake Superior Old Man Winter Warmer
Ah, we're near the end of January. Some of my fellow Minnesotans might be dreaming about the coming of spring; lighter weight coats, no gloves or stocking hats, and melting snow. Well, we probably shouldn't start thinking about that too soon, 'cause we've got a couple months of winter to go! Don't worry though, here's a beer that can keep you warm and happy until the first thaw. The name of the beer says it all: Lake Superior Old Man Winter Warmer.
This beer is a barleywine style from Lake Superior Brewing. Their website lists it at a big 10.3% ABV. That should definitely heat you up from the inside! I'll tell you right now; I've had this brew in the past and I really enjoyed it.
I pour the 12 ounce bottle into my snifter. It builds a 1/4" light tan head that fades into a small thin island of foam and a ring around the glass. The viscous-looking liquid is dark brown in color with just a touch of ruby when held up to a light.
The sugary aromas of honey and cotton candy are present to represent the malt. However, they are dominated by the smell of herbal, spicy hops and a bit of grassiness. There is also a definite alcohol scent in the nose.
Flavors of sweet, rich caramel and some biscuity malt are followed by anise and... Is that grapefruit? Then, a hint of black pepper spice and some solid building bitterness even out the sweet malt.
The medium-thick weight feels substantial in my mouth, like I could almost chew it. There is a pleasant alcohol warmth in my throat after each sip. Minimal lacing appears on my glass.
This is an awesome American-style barleywine that starts malty sweet but is well balanced by a significant hop presence. It is a perfect "winter warmer" and does it's job well, while still remaining surprisingly easy to drink. Be careful with this one, as that high ABV does its job well (I can attest to that). After consuming this tasty beverage, I think spring is actually starting in my belly!