February 13 - 14, 2010
So this posting is a few days late, but I confess, I thought I lost my barleywine notes. Many hours of standing in line, followed by many hours of drinking barley wine with LOTS of note taking, then a trip to Dolores Park and a fight at home with myself not to fall asleep before 10pm-which was lost at 9:45-resulted in me apparently forgetting which pair of jeans that I wore. The pair that I swore I wore did not have my barleywine list in it, nor was it anywhere else in my apartment. Then after a few days, I put another pair of jeans on and voila, my barleywine list! YEAH!
So considering this is my 3rd attendance (and Dave's 7th) and we had a bunch of friends in town visiting that we had to save space for at our table, we got our butts up early and waited in line for about 4 hours. Plus they opened at noon, a 1/2 hour later than they were suppose to- but all in all worth the wait. We were first in line! Whoot! Whoot! I felt like a celebrity for those many hours in line. I bet I was the 1st woman in the history of Barleywine festival to be first in line and to enter!
We got our photos taken, we were interviewed and on camera. (though I did terrible math when asked how long we were in line- I was up very early that morning)
Here are some links here:
When we first entered, we were given a bottle of Rogue's Old Crustacean, 6.4oz from 1995! I haven't had mine yet but I will let you guys know how it tastes when I open it.
SO out of 48 barley wines, we tried 35, not that we couldn't try all 48, but there were a few that we could get anytime and we would rather get the rare stuff and drink more of those than the others (like the back room barrel aged goodness). As my friend said, "Barrel aging beer is the equivalent of bacon wrapping. Do you want Lobster? Or do you want bacon wrapped lobster?"
My top 3 in order of favorites were:
1- Lost Abbey's Angel Share Grand Cru, 10% and brandy barrel aged. (This was Dave's favorite as well). It had tons of vanilla, malt, toffee, molasses, brandy- sweet and delicious with not much burn.
2-Dogfish Head's Olde School 15%. I truly liked this barleywine. Not many men did, although many of the women that I talked to did as well. It was very different compared to the others- TONS of muscat notes, honey, fresh grapes, caramel and sweet malt flavors. Delish.
3-Firestone Walker, Abacus Blend- barrel aged and 12%. It had a great nose- tons of toffee, caramel, bourbon, vanilla and malt
My honorable mention ones are:
1-Oskar Blue's ODB, 13.2%- one time small batch. I thought it was the best for hops/malt balance with a good bitter spice character to it and very interesting malt flavors.
2-Alpine Brewing's Great, 14.2%. Flavors of: toffee, caramel, bourbon, malt, a touch of hops and slightly yeasty. I wrote: this is what I think of when I think of barley wine.
3-Anderson Valley's Barkley's Sour Horn, 9%. It had a light sourness to it with some butterscotch notes. It had a good sour/malt balance and it was very interesting. I wrote: I wouldn't kick it out of bed.
4- Hebrew's Human Blockhead, 10% Lager. It had a good nose! Honey, light spice character, for a lager, it was pretty good but it was 10% and all.
My least favorite:
Schooners' Devil's Inventory, 11.2%- a blended collaboration with Valley brewing. It was very weird- belgiany, soda like and smelled like cherry coke in an artificial way.
And for the official Toronado Barley wine contest winners: