Evil Twin Brewing: Freudian Slip (USA: Barley Wine: 10.3% ABV)
Visual: Cloudy black cherry to red. Half inch of browned tight bubbles. Some sediment evident.
Nose: Smooth caramel. Pine cones. Muted hops. Malt biscuits.
Body: Sherbety feel up front. Cherries. Toffee and caramel. Apricot. Bitter charred core. Dry white wine. Dried passion fruit and dried pineapple. Resin. Dry liquorice stick. Quite dry overall. Lime sorbet. Brown sugar.
Finish: Acrid note and big bitter hops. Dry. Long lasting in the hops. Dry white wine. Tangerine.
Conclusion: You know, for all the words I have used over the years when describing barley wines, I don’t think dry is one that has come up yet. I could be wrong, but it is unexpected. How can a barley wine feel over attenuated? It really doesn’t seem to mesh with the imagery the style calls to mind.
Yet this does feel dry and heavily attenuated. It could be due to hop use, possibly -there is an acrid hop bitterness at the core of this. It certainly concentrates on the hop oils and bitterness over the fruity flavours and aroma and that gives a more drying feel, which could explain a lot.
If you get past that, and if you take bigger mouthfuls, then the usual barley wine sweetness is there. Then again, bigger mouthfuls? On a barley wine? That is approaching the danger zone my friends. However it does work, bringing an apricot sweetness and caramel notes – The more expected barley wine notes, but the more acrid notes clamp down like a steel trap as soon as your mouth empties, with only a few Madeira notes escaping the cage.
Am I mixing metaphors there? Possibly. Trap/cage – kind of similar.
Anyway, the question is – does it weave all this together into a good beer? Well even the sweeter flavours laced through the body feel drier than usual. It is an unusual sensation, intensified by the hop emphasis.
It definitely took a while to get used to, and equally definitely isn’t one I dislike. However it’s not wooing me. Maybe if feels it doesn’t have to, it is confident in what it is, but it ends up as another beer I feel more as interesting than awesome. As always I hope have given you enough info that you can work out yourself if this may be a beer for you.
Background: Picked up from the Brewdog Guest Beer selection, this is a barley wine from the Evil Twin lot – previously based in Denmark, now in the USA – Evil Twin is the brainchild of the brother of the head of Mikkeller. hence Evil twin. Anyway Evil Twin has been stand out so far, so I thought it was worth giving this a go. Drunk while listening to The Prodigy: The Day Is My Enemy. Pretty good album.