Just like you, but different
So, I’ve held back a bit on this, but no more!, There are two beers up on a head to head. It’s revolutionary. These should be similar in style, they are Barleywine, but done in the American Style and not the (better) British style. I’ve always thought that Barley Wine was an Apex beer. It then came as a horror to me that the American style was becoming more common, and I’m not happy.
slightly more “fruity”
They are returning beers in this ‘challenge’ which I think will be me mostly not banging on about these not being to style (or more accurately my taste or expectations). That’s the challenge.
But I’m going to do this because it seems fair for me to be balanced and correct. And I like a Barleywine.
English Barleywine will generally be sweeter in the balance, be much less hoppy as well as using UK hops, and have much more prominent fruity esters than an American Barleywine
In other words the american style will be heavy in hops and use a neutral yeast … a hard hit on the bitter and a hard it on aroma with a nice malt flavor undertone.
English Barley wine’s are much more balanced. English Barley wine’s by nature will be slightly more “fruity” because of the English yeast strains traditionally used.
So, English = good balance between the malt & hops. The American version will be much more bitter with the malt playing a secondary role.
So, What could possibly go wrong? Well it started early with the connundrum of what one goes first. Lucky for me we still have coins in the house, and on a toss of a coin the Mcleod’s is up first.
So here’s the (a) plan
No fancy batch number, just a beer. This one has a different aroma, it’s more towards ‘stale’ and ‘ready’ it is different from the McLeods. It has a lovely light golden appeal, with a firmer fuller head in the glass. The aroma still has that yeast/bready thing about it. Not at all bitter, but it also then does not have a a cushion of underlying sweetness and cushion. Again markedly different form the McLeods.
The 8 wired is darker, and has a longer lasting head in the glass. They really do have different aromas too. I think I prefer the McLeods look, although the darker toffee colour of the 8 Wired is lovely to look at.
I’m not sure I’ve achieved much except opening two beers of higher ABV, and before dinner too. MrsPhil stop over to frown at my profligacy and having two beers ‘on the go’ and she thought the McLeods beer smelt ‘Stronger’ which is true, it really had a loudness about it.
The McLeods beer, a it warms, and it will please Jason, gathers around it a bunch of aromatics and prickle points of flavour that, to be honest, I was surprised with, and pleased. I’m generally easily pleased though.
The 8 Wired seems to wrap itself in that malty sweet blanket but also gathers a dryness with it.
Despite the earlier first impressions the 8 Wired beer just seems to bully up and get deeper, somewhat going in the opposite direction in terms of nuance and inflection.
It really is quite the oddity.
They’re both different, they have slightly different appearances and they change differently, the McLeods gathers nuance and flavours, the 8 Wired just just bolder and deeper into itself.
What actually happened was I really did decide that I don’t like, or care for, the American version of Barley Wine that much, even though these are two of the top brewers in the country, and know their game.
It won’t stop me looking and bying more Barley Wine though, because they are for me the Apex beer, and I’m open to change and learning and adventure, even if in my picture I look a bit like Captain Haddock.
The pdubyah-o-meter rates these as 8 of its things from the thing. I really did prefer the McLeods over the 8 Wired because I did, and I don’t have any gain or benefit of saying anything else. My previous rating, in stand alone drinking stands, that’s what I thought at the time.
The double dip review
And, because The Sundays said it better hem me.. “that’s her the story ends”
Music for this: ”I’m listening to a band called The Sundays – Reading Writing And Arithmetic by The Sundays on the Spotify player