So I have to admit, I’d already tried this beer…and I loved it. It is pretty much exactly my type of beer- boozy, smooth. It was one I was naturally drawn to at Borefts 2023, so imagine how happy I was when some more landed on my doorstep! Perks of the job at their best, I’d say. This new offering from the BA series is the Balcones Barley Wine Edition 2023. Rocking up at 13.5%, it is- and I’m telling you up front- almost too drinkable. You might not believe that because of the boozy port-like smell it emits when poured, but trust me- when would I ever lead you astray?
The first taste brings a wonderful red fruit and port tannin hit which I hadn’t anticipated in the slightest! It’s delightful and adds a juicy sweetness which blends well with the velvety, smooth body. The body itself is perfect- not too heavy, not too light. I should really start calling this the Goldilocks effect, which is definitely helped by the very subtle taste of the whisky (it grows, don’t worry!). It brings a wonderful texture and amplifies the tannin-y flavour, adding a contrast to the berry sweetness and complimenting the honey from the malts.
The whiskey flavour really hits in the mid- to end-notes, especially as a bit of welcome typical barleywine bitterness comes through while honey notes appear under the tongue. The final taste is definitely the whiskey- rounding off a most enjoyable rollercoaster. I can only recommend this beer at any time of year, but it seems like the perfect one to get us through the rest of the winter- it’s strong, delicious and weighty enough to feel satisfying while looking at the snow (or just grey skies) outside, but not heavy enough to put you to sleep!