Thursday, February 14, 2013

Olde Hickory Irish Walker

This is another bottle I picked up when Jo and I visited Asheville. Saw it was a barleywine and knew I had to have it. Since I'm trying to not stock up too many things, it went right into the refrigerator when we got home.
I was looking for something a bit sweeter and took a chance that this was more of an English style barleywine and boy was I correct. For those that don't know, there are two general types of barleywines: Enlgish and American. Just like a lot of other beer styles, American style barleywines are very hoppy and similar to double IPAs but with a higher malt bill giving them a real backbone. Meaning they have a hop character, but there is a bit more going on than just that. English style is generally sweet and fruity with the hops there for balance and not to be noticeable.

With that, back to Irish Walker. Wonderful nose. Sweet with notes of raisins, plums, and an almost port like quality. Medium to thick body which is how I like this style. Makes you feel like you are drinking something with heft and helps hide the alcohol. Started with caramel, a slightly burnt, almost smoky character, and then moved into the fruit with plums and raisins. Finally finished with a light touch of chocolate and a little more smokiness. For what I was looking for that night, this was just lovely. So many complex flavors that blended super well and just the perfect amount of sweetness. Solid barleywine and real glad I picked it up.

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