I love Hangar 24 Barrel Roll releases. Pugachev’s Cobra was awesome, Humpty Bump was interesting, and this beer looks pretty damn good on paper: whiskey barrel, check; bourbon barrel, check; named after a bad ass shark (or aerial maneuver, equally bad ass), check. Let’s see if this bad boy can enter the ranks with the likes of Arctic Devil, Great and King Henry, or if it should just post up in obscurity.
Hammerhead Barleywine, Hangar 24, Barleywine Aged in Whiskey and Bourbon Barrels, 13.5% abv
A: This is much darker and deeper than I prefer my barleywines, but I am not hating, just tipping my bowler to a bully gambit. The carbonation pushes past all the hairmetal bouncers and delivers some quality head. Hammerhead even. The lacing is of particular note, but it might be a collaborative effort between this novelty glass. Redlands is pumping a lot of merch into my house these days.
S: This is exceptional, you get a cinnamon, a nice oaky whiskey barrel note, a type of rum molasses note, with some vanilla and toffee rounding out the nose. I was expecting some heat from this, particularly after everyone’s complaints from Pugachev’s. I should note that I didn’t think the old Cobra was particularly hot, so maybe I just have a leniency for abrasive scorching alcohol notes. I also enjoy Darklord fresh so, take what I think with a grain of Everclear.
T: Confirmed, not overly hot. You heard it first. In fact, compared to Arctic Devil, this beer is downright amiable. There’s pats on the back administered and delicious oak handshakes being doled out left and right. The whiskey shows up first and imparts a very original note that is distinct from most bourbon barleywines that I am accustomed to. My initial impressions are that it has a limited scope of almost rye characteristics that shifts into a caramel and light dryness on the backend. This isn’t as robust as say, Sucaba or Arctic Devil, but it is easier to drink, despite the whiskey barrel stirring up the tastebud children with promises of Yu Gi Oh decks and Jack Daniels.
M: This is noteworthy for this style, for a BA barleywine this is not overly sweet and the malt profile impresses me at its Calista Flockhart thin, nimble finish. With most of these BA BW offerings, you get the sticky icky, but not the OOH WEEE. This is the latter, OOH WEE, while lacking in things to place in the air. It finishes crisp and clean, much in the way Pugachev’s Cobra finished much lighter than I expected. I talked with Mr. Savage, the head brewer at Hangar 24 and I was amazed at how effectively they treated their yeast. The efficiency is something that warrants a vicious applause and this beer is a perfect example thereto. I bet this started somewhere around 1.10 and finished in the low 1.020. BEER NERD ALERT: TL;DR thin mouthfeel, but well done.
D: If the above is to be believed, this is incredibly drinkable. The only speedbumps are the cantankerous whiskey notes and the oak slowing things down, but the slippery light finish and lack of real flamethrower alcohol finish makes this an incredible drink. In fact, this is just the beer to pound before you hop on your BMX and go to work, since this is essentially a DUI machine if you decide to merk these solo. Big yellow bottles, big ice buckets, the ABV too hard to be drinkin on a budget.
Narrative: I was going to slap together something about a shark blacksmith but, well you try drinking an entire bottle of this and try writing something clever. THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT. Fine, I can’t disappoint, here you go:
Irongill Forgetooth was unlike the rest of his Sphyrnidae clan. Sure, he shared the same animal instincts and interesting cranium, however, his deep penchant for tool fabrication made him stick out like a deviant dorsal fin amongst his peers. First, the problem of finding a sufficient kiln for embering his precious metallurgy attempts was not insbustantial. It wasn’t the heat from the underwater lava floes that bothered him, it was the loneliness of the depths. He was ill suited for deep ocean armor fabrication and his contemporaries strongly questioned the utility of underwater chain mail. One eye at a time he spied the surface and dreamed of all of the Phalanx that he could outfit, alas, the clanging of his coral mallet reminded him of the depths that he was relegated to inhabit. He knew that his skeleton would never fossilize and his teeth held a slim chance of carrying on his legacy. Instead he littered his underwater cover with powerful, yet elegant cuirasses and greaves. This alone would be his Spencerian legacy, not a mere set of teeth. It is not the bite that carries the legacy of time, but the subtle craftwork.