Total Score: 9/10
Staring at the bottle of 200 IBU, 10% ABV 2014 Super Beast sitting on my study desk in front of me I can’t help but grin stupidly at the awesome amber liquor that awaits, not just because HopDog are my new favourite brewery but because I’ve also become enamoured recently with Barleywines and all that they represent (that sticky gooey malt/hop alcoholic fuelled goodness) aww yeah!
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel Tulip.
A: A deep murky brown with a light cream lace ring awaits any intrepid explorer willing to taste and plumb the depths of the barley seas. 7/10.
S: A fantastic condensation of tropical papaya, mango, jackfruit hops mingled with pure treacle, pine needles and toasted malt base. This is one bold Barleywine grabbing my nostrils and tossing me around the room like I’m a paper cup! 9/10.
T: The hops are rather more restrained than expected, though they are still there with their tropical/pine notes. It is the malt base that comes to the fore with an ample, but carefully measured, sugar hit – toasted malt, biscuits and golden syrup. There is a remarkable balance between hop bitterness and malt sweetness at play that really shows HopDog at the top of their game. 9/10.
M: The whole mouthfeel takes on an oily, syrupy tactility with a nice heavy carbonation and a flat carbonation. I shall name it: Beer syrup! 8/10.
D: What an intoxicating well thought out Barleywine we have here – the flavours are sublime and although at times it feels like a beer with a higher ABV (if I blind tasted I would guess this is a 13-15% brew) it nonetheless tastes like a damn good Aussie Barleywine (with those tropical Aussie hop notes – American ones tend towards pine/grapefruit hop notes). Well I’m out of superlatives for HopDog, next up is their Pale Ale, I’m almost hoping that it’s average because I need to sense some mediocrity from every brewer (no one’s perfect, right?). 10/10.
Food match: It’s really hard to match a beer this bold and full-bodied, I would say the classic cheese platter or a curry would be the best bet. Also a brew like this is good for an after meal sip on its own.