Aug 6, 2018

Surly Barrel-Aged Oat Wine

I thought that this bottle of Surly Barrel-Aged Oat Wine (BAOW) was the first of its kind that I had encountered, but then a quick search of the site revealed that I had previously encountered one from DuClaw about a year ago. That said, this is the first barrel-aged oat wine that I have had so far in my drinking years. And what a joy it was to drink!

BAOW is based on the brewery’s 8th anniversary oat wine, but with “some tweaks” according to the press sheet that accompanied the sample. The tweaks that were made were done to give BAOW a more approachable and smoother drinking experience. Having not had Surly Eight, all that I can say is that BAOW (9.6% ABV) is dangerously easy drinking for a barrel-aged beer. The oat bill gives the beer a deceptively smooth and lightly viscous mouthfeel as caramel, vanilla, woody notes and a hint of rye whiskey glide over the tongue with ease.

There is a measure of alcohol warmth late in the long finish of BAOW, lingering at an appropriate level given the style and potency. The barrel influence on the oat wine isn’t overly dominating, instead imparting a smooth echo of influence, allowing the base beer to shine nicely.

I’m a big fan of barley wines, wheat wines and, as one might guess, if oat wines were more prevalent in the market, the cellar would be packed with them, as well. Surly’s BAOW is a damn tasty brew that simply goes down way too easily for as big a beer as it is. I’d venture to say that this one would age nicely for a couple of years — if it was ever available in my area, it would have a spot in my basement for sure.

This is a review of a promotional sample.