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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lagunitas Limited Release 2011 Olde GnarlyWine Barley Wine

The barley wine style is to beer what port is to wine… big, audacious, something to be sipped on and relished for those with the patience and fortitude.  That said, some drink easier than others, and last year’s release of GnarlyWine by Lagunitas proved to be one of the most easy to drink and session-worthy barley wine style ales I’ve tried.  With great expectations, I open Lagunitas Limited Release 2011 Olde GnarlyWine.   

Lagunitas Gnarlywine poured a slightly carbonated reddish orange into the glass with a foamy, yellow-orange head.  The nose was centered around a pine hop profile, with more exotic hints of anise and caramel.
Lagunitas GnarlyWine met my palette with a piney start that was immediately rounded out and mellowed by sweet melon and vanilla flavors.  Hints of licorice and brown sugar showed up as the hops faded and the ale warmed, but not as aggressive or cloying as I’ve come to expect from a barley wine.  GnarlyWine ended with a warm, alcohol and toasty, dry mouth feel.

At 10.12 ABV and only sold in 22oz bottles, Lagunitas GnarlyWine is a commitment one shouldn’t make before an important meeting, but it’s an enjoyable drink for starting off a night of relaxation… just make sure it isn’t drinking so easy you pop open a second!

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