Vintage 2007: More known for their sodas (which are phenomenal by the way), Sprecher also produces a wide variety of beers. This beer falls in their limited edition production. They started brewing this Barleywine in 2005 and I found myself a 2007 bottle in the dark reaches of a liquor store shelf about two years ago. Since then it has been aging in my basement until now. The label says it is good to store 1-5 years out and this being the 4 year after it was brewed I thought it best to sample it rather than test the limit. Come to find out the brewer aged one nine years.
The presentation came in a 16 oz bottle that was sufficiently covered in a silver wax around the cap and a metal label attached to the bottle. Simple, elegant and classy. The beer that was poured came out clear and vibrant, producing a creamy-yellowish-dense head. A beautiful copper, dark orange, and bronze brew looked like a glass of Bourbon as the aromas then began to fill the air.
Upon my first waft, this beer presented some luxurious aromas. Vanilla and tannins similar to oak aged beers (this was not) caught my attention. Meaty, earthy, woody and rich caramel notes were mellow and smooth. I could tell this was an English-style Barleywine since the only hops used were Tettnanger which is an English variety. They helped provided the earthy grassy aspect to the beer that also have a spicy element to it (even with some age on it). Cognac-like this is a after dinner sipper. Fruity notes did present a Sherry quality like the back label suggests.
The taste is everything the nose found and more. The abv is not even noticable as this beer glides over the palate allowing you to take in the complex flavors with each sip. While I’m sure a fresh bottle would taste much more spicy and hoppy, this 2007 bottle is subdued and malty. The finish is drying and mineral, but before you get there a juicy malt presents coats your palate with jammy, fig-like fruit character. If you have a bottle aging right now, I would encourage you to open it up…not sure it will get any better than this?