Friday, November 25, 2011

Beer Review: King Henry

Reviewing the King Henry from Goose Island Brewing Company. Pleasant surprise: I got to drink this one with the current head brewer of Goose Island (who I made certain to complement) on the day of the release. I have had it every two months since.
Score: 99

Sampled a generous glass from a 22 oz bottle at Goose Island's Black Friday bonanza. Later shared a 22 oz bomber in an oversized snifter glass (image to the right). Most recent review notes are from June 06, 2012.

Appearance: Pours a thin cream colored head that quickly disappears, leaving a pencil-thin ring around the glass. Deep walnut brown molasses color. Largely opaque with ruby-brown highlights around the perimeter. 4.5/5

Smell: Red grapes, oak and vanilla. Sweet molasses and brown sugar. Caramel, some bourbon sweetness. Some major booziness if you take a big, direct whiff. Editor's Note: I had this beer again in June 2012, and the booziness to the nose (and palate) is almost completely gone. What's left is a sublime medley of rich, barrel aged flavors. 5/5

Taste: Very complex and sweet. Vanilla and oaky bourbon. Syrupy brown sugar and molasses. Some caramel. Touch of honey. Red grapes and plenty of dark fruit flavor. Surprisingly balanced. Finishes with a little warming alcohol kick and sweet vanilla-bourbon. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Creamy and sweet. Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Syrupy and smooth. Alcohol warmth in the finish. 5/5

Overall: An absolutely delicious, complex and balanced brew. I am not the biggest fan of barleywines, but this one blew me away. I can't wait to nab a bottle of this stuff and age it. Editor's Note: I had this beer again in June 2012, and the booziness has almost completely smoothed out and the beer is drinking near perfect.

Recommendation: Of the many barleywines I have had to date, this one was the smoothest and most balanced. I can confidently recommend this one all around.

Pairings: An earthy, organic hamburger with a generous heap of goat cheese on it? At least that's what I had this one with. A pumpkin pie would go great with this too.

Cost: $25 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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