Bristol Beer Factory: Un\Limited: Wheat Wine (England: Barley Wine: 10% ABV)
Visual: Apricot. Hazy. Thin white dash of a head. Still body.
Nose: Apricot and fruit sugars. Peach schnapps. Boozy. Vanilla. Bourbon. Banana. Cinnamon sticks. Raspberry. Toffee and toffee liqueur.
Body: Mildly bitter. Wholemeal crackers. Dried apricot. Ovaltine. Mild milky coffee. Bourbon. Chocolate and toffee. Light banana esters. Smooth. Custard slice with their pastry. Blackpool rock.
Finish: Bitter. Earthy touch. Mild charred oak. Coffee cake. Caramel. Bourbon. Chocolate toffee. Fresh pastry. Cane sugar.
Conclusion: This is quite a mixed up experience of a drink and it shows all its included ingredients well. I seem to be on a Adjunct Wine kick at the moment, and, so far, this is one of the most impressive of the set.
First impressions a a mix of raw bourbon boozy imagery and smooth banana and apricot ester notes. The intensity of that alcohol belies the actually very smooth body and the impressively subtle fruity notes. There is a bitterness to the beer, but it isn’t in a hop style. I wasn’t sure initially what it was, but over time it finally becomes identifiable as coffee like bitterness. Speaking of the coffee, the coffee influence is present but it feels like it is being used as a grounded base. It mixes with the occasional earthy notes and only really comes out near the end of the beer as it settles down.
As well as the house yeast that the bottle mentions, I’m guessing the wheat is what to thank for a lot of the light fruit notes and smooth character that very slightly calls to a very boozy hefeweizen. It is an odd mix of very smooth at the base, and yet boozy as hell when the bourbon hits. The flavours and alcohol of the oak ageing are very evident.
The odd stand out element is a very chocolate style character that seems to rise from the coffee influence. Maybe it comes from the coffee merging with the sweetness of the * Wine base, but it is unexpected. It gives a dark chocolate toffee sweet core that the rest of the beer can then hang off. It gives that base to a beer that otherwise would be a mix of good but unrelated notes.
Overall it manages to mix smooth character with quirky rough edges with compromising either. I’m impressed. It is literally just one “Je ne sais quoi” away from being one of my favourites, and as is it is easily in the top set of beers. A very good wheat wine.
Background: Bottled 2014, drunk just under two years later in 2016. Been a while since I tried what once was a regular to these pages – Bristol Beer Factory. So, grabbed this, with its long list of ingredients and twists. 75% wheat, uses triple strain house yeast, aged in oak bourbon barrels and blended with cold brewed coffee. Quite the mix up. Drink while listening to Dope: Life, which seems to have become a generic go to for music for a while. Probably because of the song Die Motherfucker Die. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit, like approximately 90% of my beers recently.