Beer of the Week: Full Sail Old Boardhead Barleywine ’09

Posted on July 13th, 2011

About the beer:

For a guy who knows an appreciates craft beer I admittedly know very little about barleywines. For the most part barleywines have always been selected for me or given as gifts, with this week’s Beer of the Week selection being no exception. Over the weekend a selection of the Beeriety crew had the opportunity to pop open an Old Boardhead Barleywine by Full Sail brewery. The 22 oz., which was gifted to us by friend of Beeriety Meg Whyte, had been aging since 2009 when she had resided in Portland, OR. Since it was a rare treat for the east coast Beeriety team you can bet expectations were high, given the aging and anticipation of trying this new (to us) barleywine variation.

In A Nutshell:

The Full Sail Old Boardhead Barleywine is an interesting brew, but failed to meet our high expectations.

Beeriety Review:

Unlike other barleywines we’ve tried in the past this variation wasn’t overly sweet and at some points had a very oakey taste. We all agreed that the flavors didn’t remain in the mouth for very long, giving you a quick interest in trying another tasty sip. Another unexpected surprise was that the beer was a translucent deep amber, whereas most other barleywines we’ve tried are typically dark to fully opaque.

At around a 9.0% ABV the flavors were very balanced, which was surprising given the high gravity, but left the majority of those that tried the brew wanting more. It’s not as though we didn’t enjoy this brew, we were simply hoping (maybe falsely) that this would become a keystone in our beer discovery. Stacked up against other, more fruitful barleywine variations, we all agreed that this brew fell just short of giving us a singular ‘wow’ in the tasting process.

It should be noted that the Full Sail Barleywine we tried was the ’09 Reserve and we can only speculate how the taste has changed from aging or how Full Sail has adjusted the recipe year to year.

Beeriety Rating: 2 out of 5: Just Ok

Beeriety Review - 2 out of 5

What are you drinking? Try a Notch Session Ale this week and tell us what else you’re drinking. Tag your Twitter updates, Tumblr posts and Flickr photos of your Beer of the Week with the #mybeer hashtag to tell us what you’re drinking!