Texas’ Real Ale is becoming one of my favorite brewers. With the sole exception of their Octoberfest, I have loved every one of their beers, and as I tend not to enjoy the Octoberfest style, Real Ale gets a pass for that one.
I recently stumbled upon these limited release barleywine style ales while I was wandering around my local beer emporium, and I am happy to report that Real Ale’s record of excellence continues.
The 2008 Vintage was smooth, with prominent dried fruit flavors and just a trace of hoppiness to it. It had a mild green apple aftertaste that counterbalanced the alcohol burn. The 2008 retained enough carbonation to make it a velvety smooth and highly enjoyable drink, 7.5/10.
As much as I enjoyed the 2008 Vintage, and I truly did, the 2009 Vintage moved on a higher plane. This beer was damn near spiritual. Smooth toffee and bread malts are up front, coupled with a butterscotch and hot caramel aftertaste. This is the smoothest 11% ABV I have ever had, 9.5/10, and if I can track down any more bottles, I am going to lay them down to age.