Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Barleywine Review #12 - Tröegs Flying Mouflan Barleywine

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

Oct. 10, 2012

Tröegs Flying Mouflan Ale is the next beer up in The Barleywine Project.  The twelfth beer on The List was not easy to get my hands on, but I obtained it as a part of the same trade that brought me the beer for our last review here at 20 Beers in 20Nights.  Yes, I had to give up a couple Russian River bottles, a few Crooked Stave bottles and a bottle of Hair of the Dog Fred from the Wood, but I was well compensated.

So here are the stats for the Flying Mouflan:

Location: Home
Cost: Trade
ABV: 9.3%
IBUs: “100-ish”
Brewery Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Style: American Barleywine
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A/4.14
My Beer Advocate Rating: A+/4.5
Current Number of Reviews on Beer Advocate/Rank in the Top 20: 515/9th
Bottled On: 2012 Vintage

APPEARANCE:  (3.5 out of 5) The actual beer here is not terribly good looking.  The color is a few shades darker than the standard deep mahogany that so many others on The List have been, but it is also cloudy and murky.  It isn’t bad, just not the best, and for lack of a better word, very quiet looking.  Weird word, I know, but that is what comes to mind right off the bat.  The head, however, makes up for the color not being stellar.  Off-white and very uniform, it rests quietly (yep, had to use it again) and regally on top of the murk beneath.  A fair amount of patchy lacing also graces the backside of the glass.

SMELL:  (5 out of 5) One sniff of the cap when it was popped revealed a boat load of brown sugary malts and when I stuck my nose in the glass it was more of the same.  The brown sugar then gives way to some banana, chocolate, cinnamon, clove and other spices.  Caramel and a bit of breadiness are also present.  This is the prototypical Barleywine smell.  I don’t think it can get any better.

TASTE:  (4.5 out of 5) Many Barleywines that have smelled sweet and malty like this one have ended up being very citrusy and bitter.  I have enjoyed that contrast a lot, but before I take a sip, I think it is worth noting that as I would not have expected citrus prior to beginning this project.  I have tasted enough now to know that that is a distinct possibility, but let’s see…

Yep.  The citrus is strong here in the forms of lemon and orange.  The catch with The Flying Mouflan, however, is that the citrus is not the flavor that greats the tongue, rather it provides the strong and bitter finish. The orange seems to be the segue from the brown sugar, caramel and the much-more-chocolaty-than-expected front end to the lemon and grapefruity tale end.  Some roasted malt flavors also linger throughout the finish providing a bit of a smoky aftertaste.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4 out of 5) I would categorize this beer as smooth and silky, but with a mild sparkle, just enough to tickle the tongue and make it feel playful.  Given the murky and solemn appearance of this beer I was not expecting to use an adjective like playful to describe it, but the darkness was probably obscuring a lot of action beneath the surface. 

OVERALL:  (4.5 out of 5) I’ve been spoiled recently.  The Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine was phenomenal yet Tröegs’ Barleywine effort is no let down at all.  Back-to-back homeruns in my opinion.  The Flying Mouflan smells exactly like a Barleywine should and the taste lives up to the aromatic billing.  This is a classic and very well-done Barleywine. 

On a separate note, as I have been known to do, I am drinking this bottle with a plate of prosciutto di parma, blue cheese and crackers.  Not exactly knowing what to expect from the beer, I chose two of my old blue cheese standbys, Point Reyes Blue and Oregonzola Blue from Rogue Creamery.  While the Point Reyes normally edges out the Oregonzola in my book, the Rogue selection is a near perfect pairing with this Barleywine.  It is the less sweet and tangy of the two, which works perfectly with the dry and bitter finish of the beer. 

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