Tuesday, July 24, 2012

525. Marin Brewing Old Dipsea Barleywine 2009

This particular beer was part of our evening of plenty: we tried four different beers from Yazoo Brewing in Nashville, TN (the Rye Saison was the best of the four, by the way, although we thought the APA and the IPA would be better if they were both fresher and on tap) and the collaboration between Jolly Pumpkin and Maui Brewing, Sobrehumano Palena ’Ole, which was fantastic and should only get better with more time in the bottle. So why did we make this our selection for the day, you ask? Because I actually wrote down some notes, that’s why. After all, when the drinking is all done, and you’ve got nothing but empties, you need more than vague assertions and empty descriptions like “that tasted good” to build a following. Not that that hasn’t served in the past, mind you. And the clamoring numbers to get up on this blog are, well, stunningly inconspicuous. Any-hoo, I bought this beer a couple of years ago in San Francisco, and meticulously socked it away in the basement as is my wont; after all the sticker indicating it had been “Bourbon Barrel Aged for 10 Months” told me that it needed to sit back for a while. So there you go—you’re all caught up and the likes. Oh, and this is our first beer from Marin Brewing, kicking it out there on the Left Coast. Although they seem to have some sort of relationship with Moylan’s, who we’ve tried before.

Old Dipsea pours a brown infused with both red and orange—it looks, quite honestly, Belgian—with a wispy, wafty tan head that swirls in arabesques over the beer. It also features red highlights and is crystal clear. The nose packs a decent punch of oak and dark fruit—mainly raisin, plum, and cherry—with a corresponding touch of alcohol. Taken collectively, you get an oaky rum raisin with chewy caramel. Flavors start with brown sugar and caramel malt, followed by vanilla, oak, and fruit in the middle—again, raisin, plum, and cherry—with a touch of alcohol flavor and warmth, and rounding out with a tannic bite, a touch of alcohol, and then oak and bourbon. While the tannic bite lingers, the beer is rather clean and dry in the finish. The mouthfeel has a couple of odd contradictions: it is chewy and rich with a touch of vinous character and yet also has a bit too much heat from the alcohol. And at three years in, I’m not certain that’s going away. There is also a surprising amount of oak for the time spent in the bottle, but that is more balanced, and is spread out across the beer’s profile. We’d  like to see less sharp alcohol in the flavor and mouthfeel, but everything else is pretty much in line.

From the bottle: “Our richest ale has a deep copper color, is full-flavored and very hoppy in the finish. We use East Kent Goldings and Styrian Goldings to hop the balance of flavor just right. Ideal for sipping after dinner.” The website says pretty much the same thing.

ABV: 9.0%


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