Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Leviathan Series Barleywine

The Leviathan Series is Harpoon's way of offering world-styles of beer and bold flavors that aren't typically found on tap or at the local store. The Barleywine is of English-style and can be aged up to five years to increase malt complexities. Based on the description, this example involves a kettle caramelization to derive more caramel flavors from the malts. Fermented with Harpoon's house yeast.

Alcohol Content: 10%
IBU: 65
Malts: ?
Hops: Chinook, Tettnang

Price: $11 for a four-pack of 12oz bottles
Medium: Poured into a red wine glass (may substitute a snifter or goblet)

Aroma: Overall warm nose represents the high alcohol with a nice underlying caramel sweetness and malty backbone. Instead, some bread-like citrus (if that exists) and dry fruit character. Hop aroma is masked a bit by the alcohol warmth and fruity sweetness. However, I would define it as slightly spicy or peppery.
Appearance: Quite cloudy and looks like some "floaties" or protein causing particles are present - sign of chill haze (was served colder than suggested). Poured for a very light off-white to white-ish head with minimal retention. Light garnet in color approaching amber.
Flavor: This one reveals for many layers that can be difficult to peel away. I found some toffee and molasses-like sweetness upfront (deep caramel) with a slightly bourbon-like finish. This is most likely due to solvent-like off-flavors from higher alcohols (approaches an unpleasantness). Hop profile is quite spicy/ peppery, assertive enough to balance the sweetness. Also found some bready characteristics in the malt. Dark fruit presence comes in and out after each sip.
Mouthfeel: Pleasant creaminess with a nice chewy explosion with each sip. Some mouth-watering effects come next followed by a counteracting fruity dryness. Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Overall "hot" mouthfeel, especially in the finish and aftertaste.
Overall Impression: It was surprisingly similar to Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale in its off-flavors and mouthfeel, but perhaps more appropriate for the style. I can't imagine saving one for 5 years though, its probably just not worth it unless you're into cellaring.

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