Review: 405 Manly Barley Wine Ale

Brewed for a pint night at Abner’s to celebrate the end of ‘No Shave November’, 405’s Manly Barley Wine depicts a man progressing from a clean shaven dude to a full on grizzly bear. I always love to see what the next 405 label will look like, always super simple and normally pretty damn funny. This is a single malt, single hop brew with Maris Otter and East Kent Golding hops.

A new batch, with a slightly different recipe, is currently fermenting and there is talk that a good portion of it will end up living in some barrels for a while. Fingers crossed that this idea ends up making to the shelf and into my face at some point in the future. Enough about the future, it’s time to drink now.

Company: 405 Brewing Company

Location: Norman, OK

ABV: 10.0% ABV

Style/Description: Barleywine Ale

Price: $10 (750 ml)

Appearance: Pours an hazy, almost opaque caramel with a fluffy pale head that slowly subsides.

Nose: A huge burst of dried apricots flew out of the glass as I was pouring it for the manly photoshoot in the trunk of my car. Caramel malts, subtle spiciness, and some nice biscuity things are floating around in my nose as well.

Taste: The dried fruit notes come in first with a medium mouthfeel and carbonation and a touch of hop bitterness from the EKG. Biscuits and honey are a big note here too (now I’m hungry), but the sweetness isn’t overwhelming and is well balanced well by toasty malt goodness.

Finish: A somewhat dry finish with some floral hop jazz and a nice peppery, earthy thing going on.

Overall: A really nice take on an english barley wine. The spice and earthiness serve well to balance out the blast of dried fruit and honey. This brew really comes into it’s own after it’s left to warm for a while, which is when the spice and balance really come into the picture. I snagged a couple of these for the cellar and I can’t wait to see how the age treats it. I really can’t wait to try a BA version of this… hope it comes to be!

Rating: 4/5


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