Grado Plato Kukumerla
I don’t see too many beers from Italian craft brewers in my area, but I do get lucky every now and again. This bottle of Birrifico Grado Plato Kikumerla (a 10% ABV English Barleywine) happened to be sitting on the shelves of a local shop last month. I’m not sure if it was the flip-top bottle or the fact that it’s from Italy, but I was very excited to try it out.
Kukumerla pours with a smallish off-white head that dropped quickly (and noisily) to a thin ring around the slightly hazy, copper colored brew.
This beer has one of the fruitier noses of any barleywine that I’ve had. It’s got a nice blend of apple, pear and peach along with herbal notes, caramel and a touch of alcohol.
I’m not sure if this is truly a barleywine or not as it’s got a very herbal and fruity quality more along the lines of a gruit perhaps. Peach, pear and apple arrive first as the beer rolls smoothly over the tongue with hints of caramel and a light roast before coming to it’s slightly sweet and warming finish. The beer isn’t syrupy, but it’s got a slight slickness to it. The alcohol shows through a bit more as the beer warms, but isn’t overbearing in the least.
This bottle of Kukumerla was definitely one of the more unique barleywines I’ve ever had. It’s not the best, but it’s fruity and herbal character certainly set it apart from the many that I’ve had throughout the years. I might have to get another couple of bottles — I’m very curious to see how it ages over time.