Hawkshead: Wild Beer: Oat Wine: Cider Brandy Barrel Aged (England: Barley Wine: 9% ABV)
Visual: Deep hazy dried apricot darkened body. Moderate dark brown bubbled head.
Nose: Oily and apples. Hop oils. Stewed apricot. Alpen – with raisins and sultanas emphasised. Dried banana. Raspberry tart notes. Syrupy.
Body: Raspberry. Malt chocolate. Fudge. Apple syrup. Vanilla custard. Hop oils and accompanied bitterness. Alpen. Peach.
Finish: Apple syrup and hop oils. Malt chocolate and fudge. Dry oats. Vanilla and vanilla pods. Raisins. Spicy rum. Greenery bitterness.
Conclusion: Oat Wine! Apple filled oat wine! Now, the original Oat Wine collaboration didn’t really grab me. This is similar, but the cider brandy ageing has had an interesting effect.
That base muesli style and those apricot fruit notes, are still there. In fact the pre hop styling greenery bitterness is kind of still there as well, but leaning towards a more hop oil evident character here.
What is added is a sweet syrupy character, very apple flavoured – though very artificial tasting due to the sweetness. It made me think of apple ice cream syrup, if there is such a thing. I have never encountered it, but if it does exist I would imagine it tastes like this.
Does the beer work? Hmm. Well, while artificial feeling, the sweetness of the apple adds a strong note that does help the beer early on. It adds an easily identifiable element at a point where the base beer was struggling to find itself – this strong character added to the Alpen like base does help sooth some of the flaws.
Later however it does become kind of wearing – the bitterness and oats mix in a slightly leaden fashion. However, overall I will say it is a slight improvement. It still feels like it doesn’t really do enough to leverage the strength of the oat style, but the early,bright, moments are pleasant.
Still weak, but less weak than before. At 9% abv kind of ironic, no?
Background: Not an auspicious start for this one. I had grabbed it at the same time as the standard Oat Wine, a beer which didn’t really impress me. Then I was warned by one commenter to avoid the Cider Brandy barrel aged version. Which I already had. Fuck. Ah well, I oft go against common consensus on beers so let’s give it a go anyway. Drank while listening to New Model Army: Thunder and Consolation. NMA are such a great band.