There is no sense that this beer is 11.1%. There is a silky smoothness that will draw imbibers in, while the cloying sweetness (and lack of an alcoholic bite) will allow individuals to sip with (measured) abandon. In the John Barleycorn Barleywine, there is a warming effect that sticks around long after the beer is drank. Hints of caramel, fig and even slight notes of vanilla will appear in each bottle; the ale’s light carbonation provides a stark palette for flavors to be highlighted.
A bitterness is noticeable at the end of each sip, allowing drinkers to experience the beer in a continually new and refreshed fashion. The Barleywine Ale is eminently drinkable alone, but will heighten the flavors and approaches taken in a steak, lamb, or stew style of cooking.
Take a look at the Mad River website for more information about their slate of beers and their overall availability. Pick up a few bottles of the Barleywine Ale and age them to see what exactly this effort does in the time to come; the 2011 is utterly fantastic and should be purchased by any beer fan.
John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale 2011 Review/ 11.1% ABV / Mad River Brewing Co / http://www.madriverbrewing.com