Review: Les Trois Mousquetaires Barleywine AméricainBrandon Sun! Every week, I review beers that are easily available in Western Manitoba, hoping to see new beer geeks come out and try new beers over time! So far, I've gotten a lot of great feedback from friends and coworkers from it, so I'm glad to be the voice of beer geeks in Western Manitoba. You can check out snippets of my weekly column (titled First Draught on the Brandon Sun website or pick up a copy of Brandon Sun every Saturday/Sunday. It's a great read!
Going through my beer hoard, a few beers popped out that I don't remember even having in my collection, but most likely thanks to having some of the best beer geeks in Canada as friends. Tonight's beer is Barleywine Américain (Grande Cuvée) Amber Ale by Les Trois Mousquetaires. For me, Barleywines are one of the best beers out there, so good that it's even better than most wines I've had. Barleywines are incredibly sweet, syrupy, medium bitterness and helps deal with a cold cold prairie night. Usually they are 8%+, and this one is no exception, the Barleywine Américain is a strong 11% ABV.
According to the taste/fact notes on the back of the bottle, the Barleywine has flavours of resinous hops, tropical fruits and barley sugar. It pairs well with Spicy Texxan food, carrot cake and cigars. It uses only Quebec malts, Pale, Cara 20 & 160. A great amount of hops added for this brew including Polaris, Nugget, Centennial, Chinook, Cascade and Bravo, so there's going to be some hoppy action going on. Best served at 10-14C, aged 1-3 years, 101!!! IBU and it was bottled in February 2013, making this young lass a year old.
Appearance: THe barley wine pours a very cloudy grapefruit reddish/pink, mininmal amount of head.. light beige head clinging to the side of the glass.
Aroma: A sweet, syrupy, sugary aroma is welcoming me to the beer, it's very sweet smelling. A decent amount of hop bitterness also taking place, giving it a bit of a spiciness to the nose. Very syrupy, caramel sauce, and incredibly welcoming.
Taste: I've only taken a few sips and I'm feeling it already.. it's 11% and in a 750ML corked bottle after all. A very thick syrupy beer with flavours of raisins drenched in rum, caramel, some hop bitterness giving it a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Also noticed notes of honey, ice wines and very sugary.
Overall Thoughts: Les Trois Mousquetaires' Barleywine Américain is easily one of the top 3 barleywines I've ever had. Half Pints' Burly WIne will forever be my #1. Very sweet, very syrupy, incredibly dessertiful. This is the kind of beer that would work well as a sauce, a sauce for wings, or a syrup for crêpes or an ice cream topping.. think of the possibilities!