Review: Microbrasserie Vin d'Orge Américain

I have no idea how old this is but I'm assuming I picked this up sometime since my last trip to Montreal.. so sometime from May 2019 or earlier. I love a good Barley Wine and I'm incredibly well known for aging them for more than a few years. I wish there was some sort of indicator how old it is but I'll have to just enjoy it without knowing. Edit: apparently this was made in 2015.. wow.

Microbrasserie Le Castor's Vin d'Orge Américain Barley Wine is 8.5% ABV and here's the description on the bottle (I used to do the French text too but not many of my followers parlent français). If ever there was a macho-man of beers, this is it. More malty than an American Double IPA, and more hoppy than an English Barleywine, this beer bridges the gap between two countries, and two massive beers. Alcohol, malt and hops flex their muscles here in gratuitous proportions. This beer doesn't get along well with others. Try placating it with strong cheese, or olives. That might work. But drink slowly, and always share with a friend. Or you might just get thrown to the canvas in savage fashion. 

Appearance: Pours a dark brown ale with a vivid ruby red hue to it, almost like a red wine. The head is minimal but doesn't go anywhere - thin yet creamy in appearance with a beige hue to it.

Aroma: This week is the first really wintery week of the year so this beer makes 100% sense right now - It's boozy, it's sweet, it's got a lot of caramel and dark fruits like prunes and raisins hitting my nostrils. It's got a good amount of boozy burn so it gives me shivers all over. Lastly, I get a hint of biscuits/graham crackers at the very end of this beer. 8.4%? My body's thinking more like 13-14%... and I haven't even taken a sip yet!

Taste: My first impression was that it's very velvety smooth.. then the beer hits my brain. It's moderately sweet, nowhere near as sweet as I was getting from the aroma. Definite notes of caramel/toffee as well as dark fruits of raisin and prunes.. maybe a bit of plum. One thing I didn't expect was a bit of a tobacco to hit heavy, it's earthy, moderately bitter and very rich in flavour. The mouthfeel has a good carbonation to it, slightly tinny but has held up after all these years. The aftertaste is moderate caramel meets tobacco mashup at the end, something that doesn't last long.

Overall Thoughts: Held up pretty well. I don't get a real booziness to it as I drink it. It's got a moderate sweetness of caramel, a nutty malt and a good deal of tobacco to it. I don't even know if they still even brew this beer anymore! I do miss when breweries did the custom painted bottles like this, it gave the beer even more specialty to it.

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