If Prince Can Turn His Name Into a Symbol, So Can The King
…and I see the symbol being a fist throwing up a middle finger…
Name: King Henry, Barrel-Aged English Barleywine, 13.4% ABV
Brewery: Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois
Age: Almost 2 Years
Verdict: Epic / 101
Ok, so after 30 minutes of shooting and re-shooting, I finally got the video I wanted, but it said the video was too long. Really? A 45 minute drunken video was too long for Tumblr? Well, I guess it’s back to my medium of choice. By the time minute 2 passed I just started to ramble anyway…
And without further ado…
Off With His Head!
In order to be a successful Bourbon Barrel-Aged beer, certain criterion need to be met. Too hot, too sweet, too bitter, not sweet enough, too much bourbon, not enough bourbon: these are just a small sample size of things that can go wrong with a poorly executed BBA beer. This beer (from what I have heard) is the utter quintessence of balance, harmony, and synchronization found in a World Class beer.
I said it in the video, and now I will say it again; this beer was like the most pleasant of punches in the face. SO aromatic and potent. The color and lacing was everything it should have been, but when I finally stuck my nose inside the glass for the preemptive sniff, I nearly passed out from euphoric pleasure. HOLY SHIT THAT’S GOOD! I mean, seriously, how can they get so much orgasm-inducing aromas into one 22 oz. bottle? But before I begin, this portion needs its own paragraph.
From the first sniff I understand this beer was made with the intention of showcasing the amazing qualities of 23 year old Pappy barrels. Vanilla, toffee, oak and caramel start the pleasant punching as the subsequent jabs that ensue are executed at the hands of lightly roasted coffee, dark chocolate and just the faintest hints of bramble fruit. Though this is a 13% beer, there is not even the faintest hint of ‘heat’ or unwanted alcoholic/fusel notes. I cannot begin to comprehend and gush on the overall abilities of the boys and girls at Goose Island. Who gives a shit if they were bought out by In-Bev…this beer was made AFTER this occurred and it’s considered one of the greatest beers ever made. BOO-YAH.
Moving onto the flavor: this is one ball that just keeps on rolling.
Guys/Girls, I don’t even know how to continue with this portion. I mean, this is like Mary explaining the virgin birth to Joseph…there is no way to coherently/rationally/scientifically/intelligently put it in words. All of the factors that I pick up on and locate in this beer render me utterly speechless. As I stated prior, this next portion deserves its own paragraph as well.
Ok, so after smelling this beer for 30 minutes (no lie) I decided it had opened up enough to showcase everything it had to flaunt. The first sip washes over the tip of the tongue, crashing wave after wave of liquidated ambrosia over the palate. The bourbon bites at the beginning, moving seamlessly into nuances of toffee and caramel with a touch of cream. Juice-soaked bramble fruit coat the middle of the palate, while oak grips the sides of the tongue with a tannic grasp. The finish results in the euphoric combination of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla bean and cinnamon. While ‘well-balanced’ is too cliche of a word to use in this situation, every small piece of this beer helps to represent the whole puzzle. Without a certain flavor/aroma profile, it would be like pulling a strings on a sweater; the whole thing falls apart eventually.
I had planned on sharing this beer with my co-workers as a congratulations for the end of another awesome summer, but I find myself reveling in this masterpiece ‘solo dolo’. I just cannot bare to think of sharing this beer with people who do not sleep/breath/eat/drink/think beer the same way I do. To hear the words “Oh yeah, it’s pretty tasty I guess” tear up my insides. This beer is, and will forever represent, the ingenuity and creativity of brewers.
Recommending this beer would be an insult. You don’t recommend telling someone to see the inside of the Sistine Chapel. You recommend a dish at TGIF. You recommend a television show episode. There are no words for imploring a like-minded advocate of something to experience something YOU have been fortunate to experience. This beer is one of a kind. It will never be made again, has been duplicated many times and still stands the test of time as one of the greatest. If you find yourself in the position to procure a bottle, I say jump on it and wait until you are ready to experience it to the fullest.
Thanks to all who read this entire LONG review and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed this beer.
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