Brewed with delight by the Berkshire Brewing Co., in South Deerfield, MA. USA.
Winter Seasonal (Limited Release)
22 fl. oz. / $5.99 USD / 9.5% ABV
About: "Our 2011 Holidale offers aromas of bread and spice, with a hint of dried fruit. This barleywine style ale features a grassy fresh hop aroma from the liberal use of whole cone flowers, accentuated by Magnum Hops grown locally at Four Star Farms. A warm, biscuity malt profile is enhanced by the use of rich Patagonia Caramel Malt. This is our seasonal gift to you."
Thoughts: Poured like a mahogany, slightly hazy crimson or raspberry red with a light tan head that swiftly developed a black hole dead center, that eventually reformed into a spiraling galaxy of foam.
Man this smells good! Like dried cherries, Craisins in a funky banana bread, and sprinkled with edible flowers. As it warms, a lot of those flowery hops come flowing through, but they never dominate the other flavors or overpower the malts. Seems pretty balanced.
Oh wow... hard rock candy! Candy apple, chocolate covered raisins, fruit cake, drizzled caramel and whipped cream over a melted toffee bar. Cold and malty. After warming, the scent and taste just become a bit more rounded out and compliment each other just that much more. Pouring the rest of the bottle in now... this really is a gift for which I am thankful. It's like a toasty raisin bread roll, but not one of those stale crappy ones. Rather the ones with warm, gooey bread, taken halfway done out of the oven, loaded with sweet spices and a little sugar with a dab of butter on top.
Fizzy and tingling with a minor burn once ya' breathe in.
I've only sampled BBC's brews but never actually bought one until now. Perhaps I've made a grave mistake by not trying them sooner as I've learned that this Ale changes slightly each year. I like this so much I wish I could go back and try bottles from the previous years. Oh well, I'll make sure to buy one of these every year from now to make up for it. This has given me more than enough reason to try all of their other beers (especially since their bombers go for less than four bucks each, and only about two dollars more for seasonals). This barleywine is balanced and obviously brewed with love. I say go horde the bottles!