Blithering Idiot

English Barleywine Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

4

Blithering Idiot, an English-style Barleywine by Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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Blithering Idiot is an English-style Barleywine brewed by Weyerbacher Brewing Co., and for the purposes of this craft beer review, the ale was served in a snifter from a bottle.

Appearance

The Barleywine pours a clear dark amber that glows a bright ruby when held to the light. It’s topped by a finger-thick cap of frothy cream-colored foam that vanishes almost immediately. The reduction doesn’t leave behind any lace or residue.

Aroma

The aroma is somewhat vinous mixed with black cherry.

Flavor

The palate begins with a taste of bready malt that lightly bitters with earthy hops, peppery spice, and a blast of booze. Finishes with sweet flavors of marmalade, fig, cherry, cola, brown sugar, and toffee.

Mouthfeel

Its feel is smooth, chewy, and coats the mouth with its full body and less-than-moderate carbonation. Finishes dryly with a moderate warming sensation.

Overall

The appearance shows nice clarity and its poor head retention is common with the style. The aroma isn’t persistent but it is pleasant. This particular bottle was aged six months and while the booze isn’t harsh, it’s certainly noticeable. Regardless, its feel is right in line with expectations and supports its robust palate nicely. And speaking of palate, this one is delightful. It’s complex and sweet with just enough balance to keep it honest. Blithering Idiot is quite easy to tilt back and if you’re not careful, you’re likely to become one.

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About the English Barleywine

Strong Ales have been brewed for in the British Isles for a long time but the English Barleywine originates back to 1872 when Bass No. 1 was given the name “Barleywine”. Its color ranges from golden to dark brown but should not be opaque. Its feel is full and chewy, velvety smooth with low to moderate carbonation. Its alcohol strength is high and will lend a warming sensation. The aroma is malty and can be bready or toasty. Sweet notes of toffee, dark or dried fruit, and molasses can appear. The hops can be mild to aggressive with a floral or earthy character. A strong and complex palate is malty with varying layers of bread, toast, and biscuit. Sweet notes of toffee, caramel, and molasses along with dried and dark fruits are often present. Hop bitterness and its flavor vary from low to moderately high with a floral and earthy character. The English Barleywine tends to be the strongest offered by a brewery and the style has inspired the American variation along with others around the world.