After years and years of waiting, hunting down all the older birds, finally slaying the crow, and making my own janky home barrel version: East End finally released barrel aged Gratitude. This review presents a great Pennsylvania juxtaposition to yesterday’s Bourmuda triangle, for every malty point there is a hoppy counterpoint. Lets ruffle some feathers in today’s review.
Now all these beta noobs have a crow. It just doesn’t feel the same.
East End Brewing, somewhere in PA
11.4% abv, bourbon barrel aged american barleywine
This beer lacks the panache and ARTISANAL grist of the original packaging and this is one of few instances where I actually give a shit. The new bottle is serviceable and nice, but for an entire decade the paper wrapped birds were an iconic keystone of barleywine heritage. Enough superficial commentary, the beer itself looks identical to the regular non-BA vintages from the past if not a touch less carb. There are deep mahogany and burnt sienna hues with lingering crackling carb.
The nose is a horseshoe in a boxing glove, and just wallops you with intense pine, oak, pencil shavings, conifers, creme brûlée and drizzled caramel. It is like Bourmuda or BA Behemoth rubbed some rails of blow on those woody gums and cranked the Dubstep. It is impressive and immersive, which was to be expected given the pedigree of the base birds. THEY ARE NOT FLOCKING AROUND.
The taste is far more manageable and shows a degree of restraint like in Kung fu films when there’s the one tiny badass who holds back and then beats everyone’s ass. You get cut lumber, Christmas noble fir, sticky hop oils grinding on the sweet vanilla and coconut from the barrel like a slow jam. I always wondered how these two would play out but like two sparring siblings, the conflict integrates them further. On paper the base should stand alone but this promotes its merits to a bold new level and I can scarcely think of many other BA american barleywines on this platform.
Dank ass BA barleywines? That’s what brings me to malty completion.
Most baby palates love the sticky sweetness of English barleywines coupled with caramel barrels. The BA American barleywines are for the bolder, those who do ring pull ups and smoke robustos. I can see dipshits complaining about how they wanted more sweetness and the King Henry contingency will bemoan the lack of brown sugar. This isn’t for them.
If you have a Kuhnhenn bbbw pin up in your brewery locker and you rub chinook hops on your chest before intercourse, your bird has arrived and it is ready for flight.
Go ask jamammy since most tickers didn’t even know barleywines existed back in 05.