Ah things from whiskey barrels, those barrels really do make everything better. After the Barrels and Mash team had a meeting to go over the first official event we will be a part of (tease, tease, details will come later), we decided it would be fun to crack some Anthems and discuss future ventures. Justin, Kate, and I sat down with Batch 1 and 2 of both Pappy Burleson and Babalon and went to work. It was a good Thursday night, and a rough Friday morning. Beer!
Company: Anthem Brewing Company
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Style/Description: Wheat Wine Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels
Price: $18 (22 oz bottle)
Appearance: Both batches pour an identical hazy nut brown with a light, tan head.
Nose: Batch 1 has a rich and boozy caramel character, very much what I think of when I think about barrel aged barley wine. Backing up the sweetness and booze are hints of sugar cookie, and biscuit. Batch 2 shows much more wheat in the aroma, along with some ginger spice notes. The alcohol heat hasn’t had time to mellow yet.
Taste: The contrast of the two batches here is the same as in the aroma. Batch 1 brings that thick mouthfeel, whiskey goodness, molasses, oak, and overall great balance. Batch 2 has a lightness that highlights the wheat. It’s a much drier brew with a crispness and grainier feel. Also like the nose, there’s quite a bit ethanol heat which will mellow with some age.
Finish: Batch 1 finishes coating your mouth in molasses and boozy sweet goodness while Batch 2 ends on a dry note with that wheat and ginger standing out.
Overall: Like the Babalon vertical, Batch 1 stole the show here. It’s really interesting to taste these 2 side by side as it’s clear the approach was totally different in brewing the second release . While Batch 1 followed the typical Barleywine route, Batch 2 really is it’s own thing (swinging more towards the English side of the spectrum). We’ve saved back an additional bottle of each batch and I can’t wait to see how these two stack up in a year or so.