East End Brewing Gratitude, This Barleywine is Gratuitously Good, Completely Excessive

I was always stymied by the rare offering. At the outset you have releases to the tune of 700ish bottles and everyone trades hard for these but then I heard it was NOT BARREL AGED. I was a skeptic until I had an epic barleywine showdown and it drilled other BA contenders and made the horrible Lift Bridge Commander look like a bottle of Zima. This beer rips open malt anuses and delivers a sweet panache that can’t be imitated:

The person in the background seemed a bit GRATUITOUS.

East End Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
American Barleywine | 11.50% ABV

What you know about that blue wax 2009 vintage dog? Gripping two clips, sliding barleywine heaters in the 2 seater.

A: This has an amazing turbid aspect to it that is not unlike BA Old Backus barleywine. The sheeting is pretty modest and, for a 3 year old beer it maintained the carbonation in a legitimate manner. This is what Paul Wall would floss with in a CL mercedes, it is classy but not as overstated as 808 drums. Just look at that muddy baby, you want to pinch its cheeks and take a smooch.

Despite the lack of barrel aging, this beer is mature for its age.

S: This has an incredible waft to it, milk chocolate, chocolate milk, melted raisinettes, sweet brown sugar, and cream of wheat made with a sweet smooch. I love this beer and this might be the best non-BA Barleywine that I have ever had, srsly, it is that bomb, you don’t even need to cut the red or the yellow wire.

T: This has an incredible taste with a light caramel char, dark cherries, plums, some notes akin to a quad, but it still maintains that brown sugar profile that makes it unmistakably a fantastic barleywine. This may have started as an American barleywine but, after a few years the hops have really mellowed into just a light citrus that makes this beer incredible through and through.

Hey guys, tonight we are going to open a dank non-BA barleywine
Oh cool bro.

M: This is exceedingly thin for the style but, given the huge malt blasters firing on all 8 cylinders in the taste profile, the tires hit the pavement hard. The thin nature of this beer doesn’t mean that it isn’t a freak in the palate sheets and the abv is the sneaky camera man capturing the whole thing without your knowledge or consent.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable, especially with some age on it. I don’t know if you could pass this off on novice beer drinkers but anyone at the Hop head level or above would love the robust sticky sweet character of this beer and merk it mercilessly. You ever seen ABC’s groundbreaking drama “Switched at Birth?” no? Ok, then you are qualified to drink this amazing beer.

wale whale whalez. What rare ass barleywine are we enjoying today?

Narrative: Dwayne was the best employee at the EZ Lube in Sante Fe. Fram filters, synthetics, high mileage he knew it all. Sure it seemed like a pedestrian task, that is until the average person tried to do it themselves, suddenly that old SL500 wasn’t so useful sitting like a hunk of overpriced german steel in the driveway. One fortuitous day, Dwayne was on his way to work and noticed a plume of smoke on the horizon. “OH MY GOD.” He pulled up to the scene of the tragedy and saw them all just stopped there, dead in their tracks, the death rattle of heroes that had seen better days. “WHAT’S THE SITUATION HERE?!” he called to the police officers as he ran over to them. “Well they just started making a little tick and-” Dwayne ripped open the hood of each stalled car and found that each had been negligently filled with 10W-30, INSTEAD OF 10W-40. “Oh for the love of gargbhhh-” the mere scene made him vomit on the side of the road. He swiftly went to work on a quick flush and replaced the oil in record time. “Thanks kid, you really saved the day today, now we can go shut down that Stem Cell Research protest, you’re a real hero, you know that? Not us today, you Dwayne.” The cars glamed as the exhaust resonated through the strip mall. Dwayne was the best damn 20 minute hero that $8.25 per hour could buy. His side job at the caramel factory seemed downright pedestrian by contrast; he was a brilliant genius that people overlooked far too often.


Goose Island King Henry Barleywine, Time to Commit Some Regicide

I have a conflicted relationship with this oppressive monarch. Initially I went after this at the brewery release on Black Friday, landed it, drank it, and that was that. Landed a few more bottles and thought nothing of it. Then all the Johnny Come Latelies jumped on the bandwagon and all of a sudden people who discovered Blue Moon last August thought they were slaying whales. Technically any beer that had 12,000 bottles available off shelf shouldn’t be mentioned during Whale Week, but oh well, after enough demands to review this beer, the time has come to depose this asshole.

The King has left the building. Or at least the ability to trade for the King has left the building of reasonable values.

Goose Island Beer Co.
Style | ABV
English Barleywine | 13.40% ABV

By way of background, here’s the deal behind this beer:

Aged in Pappy Van Winkle 23 bourbon barrels, previously used to age Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout. King Henry is a burgundy hued English-style barleywine with aromas of vanilla, oak, and dark fruit. Caramel and toffee flavors blend together with bold notes of bourbon delivered in a smooth body followed by a malty finish. No matter the occasion, King Henry promises a regal drinking experience.

A: This beer is a bit dark for my liking and seems to have picked up some of the residual traces from the barrels. I don’t like my barleywines cross polinated with huge stouts, but call me crazy for that. The carbonation is dead on and the lacing looks like a B-Roll from a haunted house combined with a Lil Jon skeetfest.

You gave up 4 bottles to land a King Henry? Dood wut?

S: As much as I have distaste for this beer and what it has done to the trading community, I cannot deny how amazing this smells. This is the archetype of BA Barleywines on the olfactory profile. You get a full brown sugar, carmelized sugar, sticky caramel, marshmellow foam, light roast, and turbinado sugars. I have reviews that list a ton of items because it connotes “seriously? You picked up all that, liar.” But seriously, there’s a huge medium of dark cherries, currant, and plum on the backend. Those usually belong in quads but I will let it slide this once, I GUESS.

T: This tastes incredible. There is a nice sticky brown sugar that is as decadent as a trip to Gene Wilder’s house. The taste could never match how it smells but it is still incredibly well done the sticky sugar notes integrate with the smashed dark fruits. I would never mix plums and brown sugar but somehow this works well. The barrel presence seems kinda muted since it took the sloppy seconds from BCS Rare, but I guess it bears mentioning that the bourbon aspect is smooth and imparts a light crackle on the backend like a janky sparkler. One thing I have to mention is that it has a sort of chocolatey roast to it that is offputting, not on style, and makes me wonder how much of the residual BCS Rare splooge was left inside the barrels.

King Henry VIII destroyed papal rule and displaced the religion of thousands, this beer shattered the beer trading world and replaced it with false idols.

M: This has a chewy mouthfeel with heavy sticky coating that lingers long after the beer is swallowed. The bourbon tosses a light tingle on the gumline like doing Ajax rails, been there done it. The sweetness has a good balance with the oak and vanilla from the wood and is very refreshing for a massive 13% abv. I am just glad that I drank my last bottle of this so that I can be free from its tyranny.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable and maybe that it the reason so many people are jumping headfirst into the trading came to lock it down. The bottom line is, you don’t need to go name brand on this when world class “Shasta” BA Barleywines will do. The following barleywines are AT LEAST as good as this beer:

Alpine Great
Kuhnhenn BBBW
BA Owde Engwish
Arctic Devil

The list goes on. If you can try this, go for it, but don’t pawn nana’s broach collection to try this.

This beer reminds me of so many other amazing offerings that are slightly off but far less expensive.

Narrative: The Wars of the Roses were raging in the streets and the public discontent was palpable in the air. Despite the decimated and overtaxed populace, King Henry VII turned to more pressing matters: making sticky treats for his court. The pressing from the Papal dynasty was reaching intolerable levels and yet Henry was left to wonder how he could improve upon sweet bread puddings and brown sugars that most vassals would never even lay eyes upon. “Sire! MY LIEGE! The Earl of Warwick is mobilizing forces and marching upon YORK- sire?” “Mmmm nom, awhh yeah that’s the stuff there” Henry moaned decadently while dipping mallow foam into a pool of baker’s chocolate. The smeared chocolate ran down his pronounced jowls. Henry had become everything that was wrong with the ruling classes, a hyped up product of yes-men and an illegitimate dynasty. It was his turn to rule, but at what cost? The masses were teeming in support but destroying house, home, and industry in the process. “Nahmm now we take the apple slices and mmm awh yeah” he exhaled an epicurean sigh that reeked of beef jerky and chocolate while dipping apples in what appeared to be chocolate milk and vanilla extract. The court looked longingly on the product of their support, an inflated, overbearing beast.