So considering all that’s going on with the Pirates right now, I figured now was a good time for a nice stiff barley wine as the beer recommendation. I think I found a good one clocking in at 10% alcohol: Below Decks Ale from Clipper City Brewing Co. (Warning: please drink this responsibly. I don’t want to get sued).
Clipper City is located right outside of Baltimore and has a few quality beers in its repertoire. Look for their Heavy Seas line (of which Below Decks is a member). When they bottle Heavy Seas beers, they leave some live yeast in the bottle to age a bit like wine. A nice touch. It’s a fairly new brewery (established in ’95), and is relatively easy to find. Not every brewery will take a shot at a barley wine, but Clipper City earns some brownie points (and this recommendation) by giving it a shot . Now to come clean, I’m not a barley wine fan. It’s just way to sour for me. But if you’re into them, Heavy Seas is a good choice. It’s nice and complex, but still maintains a very solid barley wine flavor.
Besides the very sour taste, you can tell that this has a lot of malt in it. Clipper City apparently also threw in some caramel and brown sugar which gives it a definite sweetness, as well. Sweet and malt are always a good combo. I also noticed that there was a big head on this one, and very good lacing (how the head leaves foam on the inside of the glass. A sign of quality). The extreme alcohol content is noticeable in the aftertaste, but they do a good job masking it for the most part. Remember: this is a 10% ABV, so only have one of them. I’m definitely going to enjoy one as I cry over my autographed Bill Mazeroski picture and pretend it’s 1960.