Wayne Wambles is the malt maven who has furtively pushed the boundaries of what Life is capable of round after round of the oft-overlooked Catador club. For every trieme being propelled by the sighs of a husky manchild expecting a boring Huna variant, the real knowers covet the sticky treats. This is crushingly good and just a hair below the Leon and Opal realm. This also flexes on the other two already solid barleywines and tosses a half barrel over the wall to show
them how barleycrossfit is truly done.
The heft of this is massive, even for them Tampatoffee standards. It aligns with the likes of Adwtdb1 in sheeting and have massive depth and complexity, carmelized figs, Pom juice, currant and a blast of iced cider on the swallow. The bitterness of the American barleywine malt and hops aligns like Watson and Crick enzymes with the sweetness of those apple brandy staves. The result is like the substrate that apples congeal in within their cobbler matrix. Swallow is long and undulant like an Artie Shaw vibrato and my reeds are left soaking wet. Absolutely seek this out, it is the best of the three stellar barleywines reviewed and deserves to occupy your mouth and fill you entirely.
A Deal with De Molen
On paper this looks exceedingly similar to the likes of Cyclopaedia: massive barleywine, apple brandy casking, barrel program pedigree through the roof: but the Deal is in the details. This is the “worst” of the three barleywines, each of which are awesome. The shortcomings are evident with this beer when stacked against more well rounded barleywines as the nose is exceedingly wafty and cask driven. You must absolutely love Calvados to run with this spicy boi because it delivers so much wood and sweeeet cider and jazz apple tones. It’s straight up state fair granny smith dipped in Sysco caramel sauce. The sweet on sweet scissoring makes it cloying almost, because the protagonist is your own mouth making sense of this onslaught.
Let’s make this clear at the outset: this is nothing like A Deal with the Devil. This isn’t as hefty, it doesnt have that American barleywine presence to counterbalance the rolo and port aspects. I nailed the 12oz but I wasn’t clamoring for more, it took me a bit to let it open up Georgia O’Keefe flowers, pushing through those malty folds. It’s good but it is wholly ambitious, a habitual linestepper. Good luck on that Tavour raffle for these joints.
The Smelter Demon is the notorious Dark Souls II boss of Iron Keep. The biggest issue with trying to fight that firey goliath is wrangling the heat which is constantly damaging you. Iron Furnace shares similar DPS issues, albeit in a much sweeter manner. If you pop a Life gem and enter prepared, this might be the most fun you have all year. This has all of the satisfying structure of regular old Brick Kiln and it’s nutted deviant, but with a syrupy heft like Skor robitussin. Here’s the issue, all of the residual sweetness from the maple only further amps up every aggressive aspect of this beer. If you loved the subtlety of Brick Kiln nut, you will find this gauche and OP, like the Smelter Demon. If you like melee and currant, sticky silver dollar flapjacks with prune meets IHOP booth fingerblasting, then the Barley Demon is your boss. It seems to exaggerated and out of comport with what Jackie O’s is usually all about, dual handing that toffee stick and just pancaking your palate with sheets of molasses is too much for me.
All of the foregoing is comparing this very good beer to beers I enjoy more from THE EXACT SAME BREWERY. You really can’t get higher poise in a DDB review than being compared to yourself, that classic Shaun Hill paradigm where you constantly lose because u PvP urself 1v1. I highly recommend trying this because it is absolutely well crafted, but a palate calibration to determine where your tastes align with regards to sweeeetness index. This is what a regular Angry Chair barleywine would taste like, if that gives you an approximation of the deft execution we are dealing with here.
It’s good, smang it, smash it and bang it. In ur turqoise jeep.