@Darkhorsebrewco Rum Barrel 4 Elf, a glade plug-in/dryer sheet disaster of a winter warmer

Oh winter warmers, what are we supposed to do with you? At any other time of the year we would just call you an old ale or a barleywine and be on our way. But every fourth quarter breweries toss fucking cardamom and allspice into perfectly respectable beers and spice things up like how Hollywood was adding gay characters into every movie in the 90s. Sometimes spice adds a layer of complexity to a hefty malt profile, more often it tastes like a bakery disaster with nutmeg secreting out your nips balefully. This is the latter. Let’s see how Dark Horse spent all that TV money in today’s review:

The vinyl is inversely amazing when contrasted to the quality of this beer,  And we all know Dre Day is a classic.

The vinyl is inversely amazing when contrasted to the quality of this beer, And we all know Dre Day is a classic.

Winter Warmer, Michigan,
Dark Horse Brewing, who knows the abv? You’ll see its not relevant.

A: This is a murky brown with a turbid center like lake water, frothy carb that looks lively but is secretly just runoff from Beijing factories. In the same vein as that CAPRICHO OBSCURA disaster from Cigar City, this just looks messy, but looks are sometimes deceiving.

this bae gets out of control pretty quickly

this bae gets out of control pretty quickly

S: Smells are not often deceiving and this is a Yankee Candle nightmare. You get some sort of cinnamon meets cardamom, a sickening sweetness like egg nog sublimates into an almost floral aspect that clashes with everything else. I can’t make heads or tails as to what they were going for here: is this a malty big beer with rum underpinnings? It definitely is not that. Is this supposed to be a spice driven holiday extravaganza? It feels more like someone dropped an IKEA spice cabinet into the brite tank. Maybe its a sweet winter treat? well it isn’t really that considering the whole thing has this laundry detergent overtone to it. I don’t know who this is for, people who have a disassociative disorder with their mouths and want to render punishment perhaps. Some people said the rum barrel mellowed out the spice of the base beer, but that’s like how napalm mellows out fire by keeping it in a single area to devastate for a longer period.

Just because something is strange doesn't mean you want it anywhere near your mouth

Just because something is strange doesn’t mean you want it anywhere near your mouth

T: This just continues the punitive aspects of the spice and adds a sickening layer of sweetness like when someone brings you shitty candy from abroad. It is never tuned to your palate and seems grossly saccharine or has like fucking salt or licorice in it. This is all that, except wait, who is getting out of this nightmarish taste Uber? Oh it is fucking clove, here comes this asshole. You know, like those times we have all smoked a black and mild and then craved some skittles, we’ve all been there. Blegh.

M: This is thin and doesn’t linger thank god, it ruins your evening in a perfunctory manner and then does a heel turn and leaves. So I guess I am thankful for that. It doesn’t like fuck your sister and then ask for a ride home, it knows when it is not wanted and is respectful enough to be over quickly. Thanks for that, Dark Horse.

Winter Warmer fanboys repping the block hard piru set

Winter Warmer fanboys repping the block hard piru set

D: If this were any less drinkable it would be a solid object. If barleywine were a super hero movie, this winter warmer would be the guy who gets pushed into a tub of toxic waste and jasmine to create the ultimate beverage villain. I cant not recommend this enough because, it isn’t even infected, they made this on purpose. It was like how the director of Birdemic was like “yup, this looks good, better offer this to people, you know, in exchange for money.” This is a total pile of wet Michigan garbage that has an entire can of FRESH LINEN Febreeze dusted over it. In other words, extra this to Florida traders, they will drink anything as long as it has been in a barrel.


Sweetwater Festive Ale, A Festivity Transmitted Disease

If watered down barley wine makes you feel festive, then hang the stockings.

Sweetwater Festive Ale, Winter Warmer, 8.6% abv

A: This pours a deep mahogany brown with generous foam and tiny soapy bubbles that almost look like won ton soup.

S: You get raisins, caramel, and some figs. It smells like a weird smoked quad or a wishy washy barleywine. It’s afraid to commit and say yes to the dress.


T: The chocolate is muted and slightly burnt. It comes off like a barleywine that has low ass self esteem and will never ask malts out for a date. It needs to man the fuck up and get some malt in this bitch, or at least warm my winter. Carlifornia already has frigid 67 degree winters and this asshole isn’t pulling his weight. Maybe that flies in Georgia, but here in California, our women shave their armpits and our winter warmers have boozy notes to them Gosh darn it.

M: The mouthfeel is thin and watery but is a strangely cool dynamic for this malty, pitted fruity goodness, so pitted, whapaw. It’s pretty interesting in the way that the new Hyundai abomination, Veloster is interesting to look at, and think how much negative vagina you would get after buying one “how do you owe someone vagina?” details details.

It feels like something classic, but with a childish zing, malty candy action.

D: This is pretty drinkable but def. not made to be a session beer. I guess it helps me celebrate a new year, but I dont feel particularly festive, I feel bloated and moody, hook up the Midol brah. It’s not quite winter and I dont feel much warmer, but it’s not exactly a miss. It like Barleywine Lite, with a thinner body, resulting in some maltiness, just not a stomach detonation.

Narrative: One thing was not made abundantly clear by the gypsy witch. Ok, so, the master has to remain a beast until he finds true love, but why the fuck was I transformed into a bureau? Sure in pre-enlightenment France, there’s not a lot of non-serf positions for a guy like me, but, come on, if I am going to be transmogrified into some furniture, couldn’t I be a laundry cart or something more bad ass? I worked as a simple house servant and now, I am just stuffed with parchment paper. I feel like I aspired for greatness and now I am left to pick up the shattered remains of my simple pedestrian life. Why am I even affected by this damn gypsy curse anyway? I didn’t have any stake in the superficial nature of the owner. This whole enterprise has fallen flat.


Bourbon Barrel Brrrrbon, Brrr It’s Cold in Hurr, Must be some Chingy in the Atmosphere.

Parchment paper is peeping on Brrbon so hard.

Here’s a beer Oregonians actually freely share. This beer didn’t get the best reviews but I feel that it’s pretty legit, by no means too legit to warrant quitting.

2010 Widmer Brothers (Of Hefeweizen fame) Barrel Aged Brrbon, 9.4% abv, Winter Warmer

A: It has nice shiny, new penny look to it with some spider webs on it like at old man Wilkerson’s house, but it looks inviting with a nice moderate translucence to it. The color actually LOOKS like a nice bourbon, I would go grab a Buffalo Trace shot and show you but, it’s all the way over there and you have the ability to press cntrl+T at any time you lazy ass.

S: This is really muted on the nose and you get a tiny hint of bourbon, like a homeless man was in your underwear drawer but you cant quite be sure. The caramel and brown sugar just lights up and smells amazing. The alcohol doesn’t grind all up on your junk, it just eases up and does a nice lil ABV two step.

The dude in white is bourbon, your palate is getting its shit rocked.

T: This has a nice initial oakiness that would be mistaken for hops if it wasn’t so warm and soothing like a negligent ass Thermaflu or something. It sweetens up with some sweet molasses and brown sugar that washes away instantly. This tastes a lot better than I was expecting and upholds the solid lineage from the recent limited releases: Galaxy Barleywine, Pear Braggot, etc. Drop the $10.99, it’s worth it.

M: It is surprisingly light and feels like a strange ninja barleywine. Or a baby old ale with all the oak going on. It’s pretty enjoyable and reminds me that I live in america, where you can put bourbon in a beer and drink it casually, with lunch, brunch even, heck, before your first day as a bus driver, who knows. Moral of the story is that the light character, deep bourbon and generous oakiness make this an awesome beer. Forget what Jamiroquai said, the future is not made of insanity, virtual or otherwise.

Barrel Aged Beer...Too Delicious...Dont Drink...Be...

D: This is incredibly drinkable and, may possibly be the only way that I will ever win at Words with Friends. You can play some wacky 9.4% abv tricks on them and watch them announce some really obscure things at the upcoming X-mas party. I had no trouble putting it away, and the average joe will say it tastes like “A strong…Newcastle…or whats that expensive…Chimay…yeah like sugar Chimay.”

Narrative: The old distillery, a county institution, just didn’t feel right, what with it being right next door to the local elementary school. Three recesses a month the kids would run in from kickball, gagging from the smell of fermenting sour mash. “Ms. Berkowitz, my eyes feel like Home Depot!” the kids would bemoan. It was many a time when a Nerf Screamer landed square in beds of spent mash, never to be retrieved. The smut that the old grizzly distillers left about was not insubstantial. Somehow, the synergy of the two, what with one destroying people’s lives, providing a solid 7 year old product, and the other being the distillery, seemed to somehow work. Jonah Wilkenstein watched in dismay as his baseball cascaded over the fence and landed in a caustic old barrel. “Now that Babe Ruth ball is gonna smell like Uncle Ira, I dont even wannit.”