Jan 21, 2014

21st Amendment Lower de Boom

I’ve seen 21st Amendment’s Lower de Boom barleywine for a few months now on local shelves, but the price point has always steered me away from it, especially considering the size of the can (8.4 oz). That’s just tiny. My other concern with — and it’s not just this beer in particular — is that barleywines usually take a couple of years to come into their own. This requires setting it aside in the basement for some time.

Now, I know that canning technology and material have both come a long way through the years, and I’ve actually had tasty vintages of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, but I don’t see this packaging technique as viable a cellaring option as bottled contemporaries. I suppose the only way to thoroughly convince myself would be to experiment, but again, the price point of this particular brew tends to push me away from that idea.

So, how did I end up with this can of Lower de Boom then? This was actually part of an early Christmas gift from the wife after she spotted it and a few other treats that she believed I hadn’t had before. As it stands, 21st Amendment have themselves a tasty barleywine here. Perhaps that’s the intention of a canned beer like this. While most barleywines require time to fully incorporate all of their flavors, Lower de Boom has a very fresh character that I don’t believe would actually benefit from any cellaring.


The brew pours a deep copper in color with a short-lived cap of foam.


Pine resin, caramel, light malt sweetness and distant citrus fruits combine for a hop-forward aroma.


Loads of pine resin lead the way for a wash of citrus notes, caramel and malt sweetness. A surge of hop bitterness arrives quickly with a moderate-to-high level of bite. At 11.5% ABV, the beer packs some solid heat as the sweetness continues through to the warming finish. It’s a bit thin and syrupy on the palate — I think it could benefit with a little more body that what’s presented here.


All in all, Lower de Boom is one of those barleywines that is probably best served fresh. When the beer presents such a showcase of resinous pine and citrus hoppiness, any sort of cellaring would deteriorate that part of the beers character and ultimately ruin the experience. Perhaps my wife will be nice enough to get me more in a future gift pack so that I can experiment.

Rating: 3.75/5

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