Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Barleywine Review #9 - Three Floyds Behemoth Barley Wine

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

Apr. 10, 2012

Big thanks to my guy Jonathan back home in Chicago for this bottle of Three Floyds Behemoth!  I have been looking forward to cracking this beer open again since I first tried it last year on a cool, crisp winter afternoon in Munster, Indiana at the Three Floyds Taproom.  There’s no need for any further rambling, so let’s get into this bottle.

Location: Purchased at Cardinal Wine and Spirits, Niles, IL
Cost: About $18.99/22oz. bomber
ABV: 10.5%
IBUs: 80
Brewery Location: Munster, IN
Style: American Barleywine
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.2 – Excellent
My Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.03 – Excellent
Current Number of Reviews on Beer Advocate/Rank: 461/11th
Brewery Description: Three Floyds Behemoth Barley Wine
Bottled On: 2012

APPEARANCE:  (4.5 out of 5) The Behemoth pours a color that rests somewhere between the deep copper color of a great DIPA and the mahogany of a typical Barleywine.  So, it is a little on the lighter side of the Barleywine spectrum in terms of color.  The head is a nice inch-thick with strong retention, in fact, it took about three or four minutes for it to recede into a cap of thin, but full coverage of the surface.  The beer is clear, although the near-mahogany color makes it tough to see all the way through the tulip glass it is in.  Finally, the lacing is decent, but not outstanding.

SMELL:  (4 out of 5) The aroma is fairly strong, but more in the bready and yeasty direction than I remember it.  Citrus, like orange and lemon, along with some pine flavors are present and pleasant, but they lurk behind the breadiness more than I would like. 

TASTE:  (4 out of 5) Rich caramel and toffee are the first and most aggressive flavors to hit the palate, but that breadiness from the nose sneaks up quickly and takes the middle part of the sip.  The finish is big, resinous, pine hoppiness.  Along the way hints of lemon, orange and grapefruit make appearances.  Also, if you pay close attention to the details, there is a tiny, tiny pinch of roasted malt tying everything together and keeping the big, sweet caramel malt balanced. 

MOUTHFEEL:  (4 out of 5) The Behemoth has a big mouthfeel with medium carbonation and slight pucker towards the end of the sip.  That pucker comes with a drying bitterness after a wave of sweetness up front.  This Three Floyds offering is complex even in the mouthfeel.

OVERALL:  (4 out of 5) While this is one outstanding Barleywine, I do have to say I enjoyed last year’s batch a little more – or maybe the difference between the bottle and the tap is greater than I thought.  The bottle had more booze and a stronger hoppy bite at the end.  Neither of those things are necessarily a bad thing in a beer as far as I am concerned, but this particular beer just went down so smooth and easy when I had it on draft at the FFF taproom last winter. 

I know this beer will age very well, so my second bottle is going into the cellar for at least a year (three if my will power is strong enough).  I will buy this beer again, but paying $18.99 for the bomber is a bit much, especially when a 6-pack of Bell’s Hopslam is available at roughly the same time of year in Chicago for the same price, maybe even a buck or two less.   


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