From The Brewery
Jack McAuliffe was the first American “micro” brewer. His tiny New Albion Brewery in Sonoma, CA inspired countless dreamers to start small-scale breweries of their own. Jack agreed to brew this very special ale with us in honor of our 30th anniversary. This Black Barleywine Ale is a nod to the legendary ales of New Albion served at their summer solstice parties. Rich with bittersweet and roasted malt flavors, balanced with whole-cone American hops, this robust ale should age gracefully for years.
Appearance: I poured this BLACK opaque beer into my Duvel tulip glass, leaving plenty of room for its thick, tan chunky head.
Smell: A rich and potent smelling beer; full of roast – barley and coffee – sweet notes of fruit and molasses, and finished with some heat and esters, all while Cascade hops mingle in and out.
Taste: Full flavored; sweetness up front – figs and molasses – followed by a hop bitterness, leaving your mouth full of bakers chocolate and alcohol. As it warms, it opens up more yeast esters with vanilla and raisins/figs. There is a good amount of floral hops mixed in, especially on the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth; creamy with nicely carbonated.
Drinkability: Lower to medium; this is a sipping beer. A 750 is a little tough to get through alone, but manageable. In cooler weather, it would have been even easier.
Notes: I bought this the second I saw it was for sale; I enjoyed the 30th Anniversary Bock, and was really looking forward to this beer. It was really good, a classic Sierra Nevada brew. Interesting barleywine; I would love to try this with 1-3 years on it. If I see another bottle for sale, I will have to snag it to age it – at 10.2% alcohol, it can stand up to the test of time. Now if I could just get my hands on their 30th Anniversary Stout…