Wild Beer Co III

Wild Beer Co: III (Aka Three) (England: Barley Wine: 9% ABV)

Visual: Cherry touched red. Slightly hazy. Strawberry touched white froth head. Seemingly still body. Head leaves suds.

Nose: Jelly touched. Passion fruit. Light pencil shavings mixed with wet wood. Strawberry. Pomegranate. Orange jelly.

Body: Pomegranate. Tomato juice. Light oak. Orange. Sickly honey. Brown bread. Treacle. Orange liqueur.

Finish: Tomato juice. Brown sugar. Pomegranate. Brown bread. Petals.

Conclusion: Ok, first sip impressions here were majorly off putting. This tasted like a tomato juice beer – I’m not exactly a tomato juice fan at the best of times, so this was not exactly what I would hope for as a beer opening handshake. After a bit of time with the beer I have come to the conclusion that is probably the effect of the pomegranate. Well, that is a guess, it is made with pomegranate molasses -I have no idea what they taste like, I presume like sweet pomegranate. Anyway, actual pomegranate notes also become evident later on. Anyway (again), the tomato is not pleasant here and lasts a very long time.

So, I said “first sip impressions” – does that mean that the beer gets better over time? Slightly. It lets more notes come out – light wood, and a bready base that helps ground it. It makes it more balanced so that it isn’t an actively painful beer. Wow “ it isn’t an actively painful beer” – that is damning with faint praise if ever I did so.

Ok, let’s be less harsh – I can see what they are doing – unusual fruit against a less sweet barley wine background than usual. It should all mix to create a kind of unusual and floral mix in a soothing and fruity way. It is a nice idea, and there is a floral character in the finish. Unfortunately here the beer just makes for a clash between the floral, the fruit and the few sweet notes that manage to break out, ironically too sickly sweet where the rest of the base is too dry.

Overall – nope I am not a fan. The fruit tastes like tomato juice and the base has no spark, with the occasional spurts of sweetness misplaced. For all their skills, Wild Beer Co seem to be weak with barley wines. Leave this one be says I.

Background: Wild Beer Co’s third anniversary beer, innovatively named, well, three. Usually I am a huge fan of Wild Beer Co, however their past attempt at Barley Wine was not particularity impressive. Still, grabbed this from Independent Spirit as always willing to give them a go. This particular barley wine was made with caramelised orange zest and pomegranate molasses. I have to admit I did not know that pomegranate molasses were a thing. You learn something new every day. Drunk while listening to Electronic Super Joy’s OST for some non intrusive upbeat backing music to my drinking decadence.