Dec 1, 2009

Shipyard Barley Wine Cellar Aged

When I first reviewed Shipyard’s Pugsley’s Signature Series Barley Wine almost a year ago to the day, my sole complaint was not having a second bottle for cellaring. Lucky for me, the Maine brewery stored a good amount of the brew since originally releasing it to the public. And even luckier for me, I was able to get a sample for review.

Beer Label: Shipyard Barley Wine


From my original notes and what’s left of my memory, the cellar aged beer pours just a bit darker than it did a year ago with a dense tan head.


The barley wine smells just as earthy as it did fresh with a nice herb presence (clove perhaps). There’s not much of the booziness that I originally noted in the beer.


The nose hasn’t changed much over nearly a year, but the taste has matured nicely. The earthy maltness still dominates the palate with a semi-sweetness, but there’s something else in the mix. For some reason I keep picking up a subtle chocolate in the background. It’s got to be a result of the malts mellowing with age, but I’m not entirely sure. It certainly adds a whole new layer of depth to the beer.


This barley wine is still a stand out example of the style and the new chocolate element only adds to its complexity. The time in the bottle has mellowed the alcohol a good deal (not that the beer was that hot to begin with). I’d be hard pressed to pick either the fresh or vintage bottles, but I think I’m more partial to the bolder flavors of a new bottle. That said, I still enjoyed the hell out of the beer.

Rating: 3.5/5

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