Ever heard of a a barleywine? It's a high alcohol (generally 8 - 15% ABV) beer made with barley. Barleywines tend to have a bite of alcohol in aroma and taste and are great candidates for cellaring, as time tends to round out the boozy edges.
Full Sail just released a Bourbon Barrel Aged version of its 27th Anniversary Wheatwine. A wheatwine is similar to a barleywine, but is made with wheat, instead of barley. I tasted the non-barrel aged version when it was released back in 2014. It had a boozy bite, but was not as strong as expected, and was surprisingly smooth overall.
A portion of that beer was aged in Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrels for a year, and is now being released under the name Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Wheatwine as part of the Brewmaster Reserve Series. The brewery sent me a few sample bottles. I just cracked on open. Here are my tasting notes:
Amber in color, clear, with a white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The aroma is full of carmel, vanilla, and of course—bourbon. In the taste, all three of these flavors are prominent. As the beer warms, different flavors emerge. I tasted notes of orange and coconut. Make no mistake, bourbon is the star of this beer, and the booziness makes its presence known in the middle and finish. This is a 12% ABV beer, after all. It's meant to be savored slowly.
Big beers are made for pairing. I paired mine with a coconut mango dark chocolate bar. It was a good match, as the flavors in the chocolate and the beer complemented each other!
I'll stash my other sample bottle in the cellar for two years and see how it evolves. I expect it will smooth out nicely. Check back in 2018! For more details, see Full Sail's press release below.
The Wait is Over for Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Wheatwine Ale
Aging Wheatwine in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels adds a rich, complex structure
Hood River, Oregon – February 5, 2016 – “Cold turkey” takes on a whole new meaning with Full Sail’s latest beer from its Brewmaster Reserve Series – Bourbon Barrel Aged Wheatwine Ale, available now.
“Originally released in 2014 to celebrate our 27th anniversary, Wheatwine is brewed in the Barleywine style, yet contains no barley malt,” says Full Sail Executive Brewmaster Jamie Emmerson. “We reserved a portion of this special brew, racked it into Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels, and let it rest for a year in our cellar,” adds Full Sail Brewmaster Jim Kelter. “Barrel aging rounds out this big beer.”
Wheatwine is brewed with wheat and caramelized wheat malts and hopped with a blend of English and Northwest hops. Complex aromas of apricot, spice, and citrus lead to a smooth palate, blended with notes of caramel, marmalade, and green hop overtones. It pours a rich honey hue and opens up with complex aromas of barrel oak, vanilla and apricot. The spicy hop character has mellowed to accentuate flavors of vanilla, marmalade and dates. It finishes with a remarkable smoothness and a creamy mouthfeel.
“Don’t buy it, it’ll leave more for us!” jokes Emmerson. The brewmasters at Full Sail are confident that Bourbon Barrel Aged Wheatwine Ale has been worth the wait.
Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve series allows the brewmasters to put their creativity, innovation and passion into small, limited-release beers. These craft brews highlight the direct connection with Full Sail’s farmers, celebrate the art of barrel aging, and explore the effects of time. Over the years, Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve series has earned 18 gold medals. Brewmaster Reserve Bourbon Barrel Aged Wheatwine Ale is available in limited release in 22 oz. bottles and draft. 12% ABV, 42 IBUs.
About Full Sail Brewing Company
Perched on a bluff in Hood River, Oregon, overlooking the mighty Columbia River’s epic wind and kite surfing and the snow-capped volcanic peaks of Mt. Hood, Full Sail is a true craft-brewing pioneer. Since 1987, Full Sail has been pouring pure Mt. Hood water, local ingredients and responsible processes into each and every pint. Full Sail’s brews and sustainable practices have garnered more than 300 national and international awards, including 150 gold medals and Beverage World’s “Craft Brewer of the Year” distinction. From Full Sail Amber and IPA to Session Lager and bourbon barrel-aged beers, Full Sail consistently strives to brew complex, balanced and ridiculously tasty beers. Learn more at www.fullsailbrewing.com