Southern Prohibition Brewing Barley Legal Barleywine

SPB has produced some of the best beers I've had. I would venture to put them in the same league as Lagunitas when it comes to be consistently good. Every brewer will have an outlier that proves they are human, but both of these breweries demonstrate that you can produce consistently good beer if you have the talent and put your mind to it.

The opaque brown beer has a slight orange tint to it and virtually no head. The bubbles scattered around the top are like dust in the wind with a firm enough grip to form the ring that is held against the sides of the glass with no effort. The aroma is dark fruit and malt. They call this barelywine because it is about the closest that beer gets to wine, and this aroma puts me in the mind of a wine; it has a wine's sweetness and daunting boldness. With an 8.4% ABV, it's not as potent as your average wine, but I certainly don't judge a beer based on that.

First sip is actually pretty nice. It has a bit of a kind of bitter, musty back end to it, but the overall impression of the beverage is that it is kind of honey sweet and smooth. The fruits are surrounded by grains and it is a mix that seems well planned and meticulously thought through. As a sipping barleywine, I could totally see this happening.

As for a proper draught, the tip-in is virtually no carbonation with light grains and a bit of musty malt greeting you. The middle is where the barley meets the wine; the grains and a caramel taste combine to meet a more whisky-like richness that eventually dulls into the finish which perks up with a mild vanilla and then the musty malts bid a fond farewell.

Bottom Line: Less of a drink than an experience. It's not that I'd want one of these every day, but it's a nice trip down a scenic road for when you want something different.



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