Style: English Barleywine
Score: 3 of 5
I really wasn’t planning on reviewing this beer until I got to about the middle of the glass… hence the half-drank picture.
I am not a barleywine person. I’ve always found them syrupy, sticky and too sweet for my taste. But I can’t say that I’ve had many. I don’t believe barleywines should come in pours or containers larger than 4-6oz as you really don’t need more than that before they become overwhelming. Barleywines have always felt more of a digestif; to have in small quantities after dinner. Or with a nice cigar, the way I am enjoy this now.
Blithering Idiot pours a very reddish-brown and notes of dark cherries and plums immediately hit your nose. It has a decent head with some thin, but nice lacing that sticks around for a bit until about mid-glass. On the nose you’ll get an overwhelming scent of dark fruit, namely black cherries, prunes and plums. There was a faint “mediciny” scent I couldn’t shake after several sniffs.
The nose is simply a straight follow up to the palate; all dark cherries. As expected, very sweet and sticky with little to no hop bitterness to speak of. You can certainly feel the warmth of the booze in your mouth and as it makes its way down your system. At 19F outside, this was definitely the right choice of beer to end the evening. This beer is big, you can practically chew it. The lingering aftertaste is very sweet and reminiscent of brandy or cognac with a very faint , dry grain finish.
As I am halfway through my 12-oz pour, I truly wished Weyerbacher (and others) would offer barleywines in smaller presentations as this style would be ideal as a nightcap or an after-dinner conversation piece. I do find a certain level of elegance to this drink; imagine sitting in an elgant room filled with mahogony and oak furniture and some guy in a fancy suit talking about how his stock went one iota higher while you sip your barleywine from a fancy snifter and go… “what a blithering idiot”.