A life just as ordinary

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Beer – #1037 – McLeod’s – Barley Wine

McLeod’s Barley Wine. A beer that really did bring on the FOMO, and I ended up with put-asides for me in two stores, but thing happen like that for a reason, and this means I have a one now and one for later.
Today I’m drinking #2,261 of 2,500. The other will have a reprieve for now.

And it’s big !

This has  10% ABV making this Barley Wine around 300 calories a serve size, which would also then be around 3.9 standard drink units
A 500ml bottle of beer that is brewed in the style  that is  of  a BarleyWine / WheatWine / RyeWine  and is brewed by
McLeod’s Brewery in the lovely Waipu, New Zealand
Our Smugglers Bay Barley Wine is our first. And it’s big.

So big right now

Pine-laden lemon peel & grapefruit on the nose with hints of caramel & a slight haze from the hops.

Gorgeous lacing.
Unfiltered & partially bottle conditioned, the palate is all resinous, oily hops with creme brûlée-like threads.
Finish is dry & not cloying while bitterness is prominent yet integrated

So, What could possibly go wrong?

The aroma from the fresh opened bottle isn’t what I was expecting and this presents as something like an ordinary IPA.

The pour is a lighter golden orange colour, which sits lovely in the glass with a nice firm head of crisp white, the aroma swing is towards orange peel.

Taste. Well there’s a sharp bitterness that is sitting on somewhat of a muted body, and it finishes towards a pith dryness that, again, I wasn’t expecting. There’s quite a lot of lingering afternote  with this, that slightly peel bitter note.

This is quite harsh drinking, the dryness is quite insistent and is enough to slam on top of anything underneath that might be trying to shine, I’m particularly miffed as I’m intrigued by the orange notes that this has that I’d like to uncover.

So far then, a bitterness without a cushion, a compelling orange note that doesn’t develop, a lack of alcohol tang, and not enough carry. It not a huge success.

I do have another one that I’m less keen on now, and it’s hard to envisage where this going to gather itself up and gain that headiness and body that it should reasonably have I recon.

My recent Barley Wine drinking has had a complete range of things from the wonderful to the weird and the brilliant to the disappointing. This particular one is at the wrong eng of all those things, weird and disappointing.  I get the hop notes, they’re ok, but I don’t get the aggressive bitterness and lack of an enjoyable body or carry.

I’ve had a goodly number of beers from McLeod’s and their Triple is amongst, or even the the most excellent that New Zealand produces, their IPA’s are legend, but this, this isn’t a song I’ll be singing in future.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 7 of its things from the thing. Mostly as I’m reluctant to mark it as a 6. I went away and let this warm, I even had some cheese and crackers to give the mouth a refresh, and yet apart from getting a little heaver there wan’t much by way of a change with this.  I didn’t get lacing, and I go no where near a creme brûlée that was promised. 

The double dip review

  • Where did I get it? From the Bottle Stop Vinegar Lane, and the lovely people at Liquorland in Forrest Hill
  • Am I enjoying it? Not really, for me it’s a long way off style
  • Would I have another? I’ve got another that I’ll save for another day
  • Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? As it is? No.

Music for this:  Stevie Ray Vaughan with David Bowie – the 1993 rehearsal broadcast. I can’t find this as an online listen and it seems to be  an off label production. IT’s quite good though.


A Barley Wine is a strong, top-fermenting ale, with an alcohol contents of at least 9% and up to 13% (or more) by volume. Hops may be hardly noticeable at all or very noticeable. Sip them out of the special glass, that will concentrate the aroma. They are excellent with cigars or with dessert.


One comment on “Beer – #1037 – McLeod’s – Barley Wine

  1. Pingback: Beer – #1,082 – The Barleywine Conundrum – McLeods v 8 Wired | A life just as ordinary

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