As the post-modernists taught us- it’s all about context. You should know that the context of me sampling this brew includes me just coming home through a -5 degree evening and the disclosure that English-style brewing is pretty much as good as it gets in my world. Add the anticipation of a Hammer Horror flick on Svengoolie tonight and you pretty much get an idea of the setting.
This barleywine has the delicious mouthfeel of a good mix of malt with just a bit more hops flavor than most British ales. It warms the heart on a cold night and the mouth on the way down the tube thanks to the 11.5% ABV. Summit claims that toffee, marmalade and citrus ought to make up the taste (along with some spices) – my read is yes to the toffee, yes to marmalade, and after you are told it is there, not so much for the citrus (which is good for me). I think the citrus gets a bit lost in the high alcohol?
This is a great sipping beer for the winter. I’ll have to see if I can get some before we get completely snowed in. I will admit that the first swallow was bit overwhelming. The rest has gone down smoothly. Summit continues to hit the mark. It is the best of our many local breweries, and many of them make some excellent beers. I served mine in a snifter-like glass at about 50 degrees.