A barrel-aged version of a classic American barleywine, a new DIPL and a new DIPA are reviewed this week.
First up is the phenomenal DirtWolf from Victory Brewing Company.
The DirtWolf is an imperial, or double, India pale ale, brewed with Mosaic, Simcoe, Citra and Chinook hops. It checks in at 8.7 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
Unlike a lot of IPAs, that are brewed with hops that have been pelletized, Victory brews DirtWolf with whole leaf hops.
The results are an extremely floral beer, with the hop aromas bursting from the glass. Flavor-wise, you get strong flavors of citrus, with a touch of pine and more floral character. There’s also an earthiness that is quite pleasant.
This is a fabulous beer. It is also Victory’s first beer that will be available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles. If you like your beers hoppy, seek this out.
Another beer for hop lovers is the Downward Spiral Imperial India Pale Lager from Widmer Bros.
More and more breweries are jumping on the IPL bandwagon, and this is a good one. It’s a big beer, at 9 percent ABV, but the lager yeast lets the hops shine through.
Expect flowery flavors, as well as hints of pear and even pineapple. It’s a little boozy, but not overwhelming.
Widmer’s Old Emblamer Barleywine has been around for years, and it’s good, but what is even better is the Barrel-Aged Old Embalmer Barleywine.
The barleywine is aged in pinot noir oak barrels. I expected the 10.2 percent ABV barleywine would overwhelm the pinot noir flavors, but I was wrong. It picks up a lot of wine flavors, as well as a little vanilla from the oak.
The Barrel-Aged Old Embalmer Barleywine is probably my favorite beer from Widmers. I’m going to pick up another bottle and let it age for a year to see if it gets even better.