On this last day of the Labor Day holiday, herein is posted the tardy brew review. Lotta stuff went on this weekend for yours truly. I loved every minute.
The beer for this evening is a collaborative effort by Firestone Walker (Paso Robles CA) and 3 Floyds (Munster IN.) The beer is called Ol’ Leghorn and no place on the label did it state what style this beer was.
From the beginning I had to guess that based on FW’s Union Jack and Double Jack and 3F’s Zombie Dust and Arctic Panzer Wolf, that the beer I had purchased last week was more than likely a Double IPA. Continue reading below for my rude awakening.
Since I had purchased the two bombers in Joliet last week, I’ve been seeing the beer on the shelves here locally as well. Prices are pretty much the same except for that one place that will go without mention for now.
The label on the bottle was unique. It was a caricature of a rooster circled by the FW’s traditional block font along the top, with 3F’s out-of-the-ordinary font below. The only usable information was the ABV, listed as 10.5%.
It was getting thirsty out Monday night. Off to the Manly Garage to warm up the workbench throne and my stomach.
The beer poured up with an orange-yellow color topped off with about a half-inch of off-white foam. The liquid was a bit hazy but I could see micro-bubbles percolating from the bottom of the glass. The aroma was quite sweet and citrusy and reminded me of pineapple-orange. I think this is going be good.
The first sip was amazing. It brought forth that pineapple-orange taste right up front. The beer had a rather big body and hardly any hop rasp at the swallow. By the third sip, the foam had gone away to form a ring along the perimeter of the glass.
I must confess that up until that very minute, I thought I was drinking a double IPA. It had all the earmarks of tropical fruit hops. I was quite surprised when I looked up the beer on RateBeer and I saw that it was a barleywine.
Here is the brewers’ description of the process:
Ol’ Leghorn was initially brewed by Floyd and Brynildson during last year’s Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. In a shout-out to Firestone Walker’s and Nick Floyd’s mutual English heritage, this blonde barleywine was brewed with traditional English ale malting varieties—Golden Promise and Optic base malts—with no specialty malt added.
The beer was then racked to a combination of retired bourbon barrels and new American oak wine barrels for aging at Firestone Walker Brewing Company. In fearless 3 Floyds fashion, another batch of dry-hopped Ol’ Leghorn was recently brewed for blending into the aged beer, to add a fresh, hoppy layer to the more intense spirits barrel and oaky character of the initial batch.
The name Ol’ Leghorn is a nod to Old Foghorn, the original iconic American barleywine made by Anchor Brewing, by way of Foghorn Leghorn, the wisecracking Looney Toons rooster.
Most of that I agree with except for the “spirits” and “oaky” part. I experienced none of those tastes.
The beer is quite sweet, but not overly so. I figure that the hops were predominantly all late additions from the tropical fruit end of the spectrum, but now that I think about it, it was a combination of well chosen hops and barrels that gave this beer its unique flavor. For a barleywine, this Ol’ Leghorn was extremely drinkable. It was nothing like any of the other barleywines I’ve tried and it runs rings around Old Foghorn from Sierra Nevada.
Usually I identify a barleywine by its signature aftertaste. A bit of harsh maltiness that is the final thing sensed after the swallow. It’s not hops and it’s not alcohol, but rather a taste that can only be summed up by saying it was a harsh malt flavor. Old Foghorn has it. Flying Dod’s Horn Dog has it. This Ol’ Leghorn has maybe minuscule amounts of it but as to being undetectable unless you’re looking for it.
The tropical fruitiness was what stumped me. The dry hop additions to the barrel aging process that the brewers used were a stroke of genius. The selection of barrels may or may not have been planned.
This beer is on the shelves right now and I urge you to pick up a bomber or two. I also challenge you find the single taste that differentiates this barleywine from a double IPA.
Mislabeled, misnamed or poorly described, this is a helluva beer. Careful, though. It’s effects may not manifest until sometime into the second bomber.
Style: British-Style Barleywine
Taste: Sweet and delicious.
Smoothness: Each sip glides right down.
Drinkability: Oh yeah, I’ll have another.
Bang for the buck: I’d say it was a fair price for the taste.
Amount paid: $14.99 per 22-ounce bottle.
Get it again? Absolutely. While supplies last.
Brewer’s website: Firestone Walker, 3Floyds
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff) Citrus. More apricotty citrus. (sip)… (sip)… You get dry but it goes away fast. You get bitter but it goes away fast. A little apricotty with lemon. Or orange or something. It’s not bad. (Nice description. Nailed it, I’d say.)
Foghorn Leghorn short [1:09]