May 30, 2012

Berkshire Raspberry Barleywine Style Ale

Berkshire Brewing Raspberry Barleywine Style Ale (2012)
Seasonal Release (February)
22 fl. oz. / $5.99 USD / 9% ABV

About: "This special ale is inviting with its ruby hued appearance from the generous use of half a pound per gallon of fresh raspberries from a local farm only a few miles from the brewery.  Luscious malts and a balanced hop bitterness support the rich sweet/tart character of the fruit.  This brew is dangerously drinkable, challenging the notion of what a “fruit beer” is. Available each year in February, in time for Valentine’s Day." Awwww...

Thoughts: True to its name, this brew poured a raspberry red color straight out of the bottle. Got some pretty good head retention. This beer is has a slight cloudiness to it. 

This smells great. Very sweet, those raspberries come out on top and there's almost like a silky malt flow in the undercurrent. I myself am a bit perplexed as to why my brain went to silky as a way to describe a scent, but it just smells silky smooth. It smells sweet, but not overly sweet and there's a little bit of booze lurking in the shadows. Not getting any hops in the nose.

Taste starts off beautiful with a rich malty tenderness mixed with those sweet raspberries. Very light orange-zest citrus hops come out in the flavor around the middle, and in the end there's a tingling tartness that gently flows in then out. Savor, gulp and repeat. After a while the alcohol brings forth a fog in the mouth that lasts between each sip or chug. The booze seems well hidden, but it's a creeper, slowly wedging its way into the flavors. A gentle bitterness to this beer, I'm going to say, really helps it out from being one of those disgustingly sweet and vomitory semi-brews. This is true Ale, through and through, and it's pretty damn good too.

Mouth feel, and very important, this feels like Beer! It's a bit frothy, medium to heavy, good carbonation, and filling. It doesn't really coat the mouth much in terms of anything sticky, which one may consider with a fruit beer or barleywine/strong ale, but the taste stays long after it's been swallowed.

Alright, poured the rest of the bottle in and now it's a little bit grainy and hazy as all fuck. Berkshire of course produces unfiltered and unpasteurized brews that allow the yeast to remain in the bottle... so always expect a treat when that second glass is in front of you. This beer isn't really complex at all, but I have no problem with the way it presents itself. Especially for a fruit beer, since they're apparently so easy to fuck up.

At the end of the bottle now and it's a bit warm and still tastes good, but it's far better when it's cold. If you're one of those people who think all fruit beers are absolute shite, I'm going to tell you that this one has a 50/50 chance of you enjoying it, and those are the best possible odds in this imaginary scenario. If you give fruit beers a try from time to time and a lot of them suck, which they will, then this one will not. You can trust me. I'm a professional. Though Valentine's Day has far since passed, you can still buy your girl a bottle of this, smash it over her head and say "I love you... when you're unconscious."

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