Oh, do I have a good one for you tonight. Barleywine's are probably my second-favorite type of beer after IPA's, but they aren't quite as popular so you don't really see too many of the style around. But man, when I get to enjoy one it makes my tastebuds tingle. If you've never had a barleywine but are into the craft scene, you should 100% try some out. And no, despite its name, it has no similarities in taste to actual wine. They are usually strong, bitter, and sweet, so let's examine Third Coast Ale, shall we?
As you can see, it's a nice dark copper color with an off-white inch of foam. The smell, oohhhh the smell. I get a heavy sense of roasted toffee mixed with pine and the combination is heavenly. I immediately get swept away to the middle of the wilderness sitting at the campfire listening to it crackle. The owls are hooting, wolves are howling off in the distance, and I think I just saw a shooting star. Or perhaps in my favorite lounge chair next to the fireplace, also crackling, with my reading glasses on, indulged in the novel I just picked up from the used book store whilst man's best friend lies at my feet on the afghan rug. What's that darling? This passage is too long and makes no sense? I do apologize.
It gets even better with the taste. Rich roasted malts, sweet caramel, hoppy pine, dark fruits. Magnificent. It starts off smooth and crisp and then transitions to the bitter middle before finishing sweet on the back end. The bitterness actually creeps back in and lingers around. Did I mention this beer has a 10.2% ABV? Because it does, and for as strong as it is, it carries just the right amount of booziness. I recommend letting this particular beer warm up a little before consuming it. It started off more bitter straight out of the icebox, but as it warms up the sweetness seems to become more prominent.
One interesting thing to note is that this is a beer that is supposed to get better with age. It has no shelf life. You could stick this in a dark corner of your cellar for five years and apparently it will taste better. Unfortunately, I do not have that sort of self-control, especially when it comes to a beer this good. In fact, I'm already on my last one. Don't worry, not all in one night. Third Coast Old Ale is a fantastic beer and one I look forward to having more of soon.