Feb 3, 2016

Heavy Seas 20 Year Storm

Originally formed in 1995 as Clipper City Brewing, Maryland’s Heavy Seas celebrated their twentieth year in action this past December. And to celebrate the occasion, founder Hugh Sisson and the brewery released a massive imperial ESB (Extra Special Bitter for your new kids) aged in bourbon barrels. 20 Year Storm weighs in at a mighty 10.3% ABV and is an homage to Winter Storm, the company’s first release two decades ago.

I’ve enjoyed many of the company’s releases throughout the years — whether under the original moniker or the newish (renaming occurred in 2010) Heavy Seas name — and each one has been a great experience. This celebratory release is no different and falls right in line with the rest of the big, boozy beers that the brewery has been releasing more recently.

Brewed with imported UK Optic malt and a blend of both American and English hops varieties. The result is a beer that, while big in alcohol, is incredibly well balanced in every other regard. Rich malt, bread, bourbon and a moderate hop tingle all get along quite well here, never overtaking any other element and allowing each to shine in equal measure. Bottle # 15318 was a wonderfully tasty brew, that kept me company and warm in side on a cool December Sunday. My only regret is that I did not purchase more.