I’m going straight in with this one, no mucking about, this is the beer I’ve been looking forward to the most and before I’ve even opened the wax-sealed bottle I’m already wondering why I only bought one bottle.
Day 11, of what has been a thoroughly enjoyable series of #12beersofxmas, sees me open up a bottle of Siren’s Maiden 2013.
I gotta say that I’m not actually a huge fan of wax seals. They are a bit fiddly, a bit messy and keep me from the contents for longer than necessary. But they do look the part. Oh and yeah, I have to ‘fess up to being one of those beer geeks that takes bottles on photo shoots.
This is a barley wine brewed and blended to celebrate the first anniversary of the brewery and shall be re-imagined again for anniversaries to come (just this afternoon Siren have released a date for a launch party at the brewery, March 7th 2015) This edition has been aged in Bourbon, Tequila, Armagnac, Rum and Madeira barrels before being blended.
It pours a dark brown, oaky-amber with a thick, full, off-white/creamy head that dissipates to a lasting halo. The aroma is incredibly complex. I swear I’ve spent more time sniffing this beer than any other, nose well and truly planted into the glass, inhaling like it was cold remedy. Swirling scents of toffee apples, orange marmalade, currants, dates, heady spirits, Christmas pudding, almonds, polished wood and honey all make themselves known.
I take a sip and I’m rewarded with an initial smoothness over the palate, then transient pockets of fizzing flavour through a light carbonation.
This is a far more bitter beer than I was expecting, but then this barley wine is of the American style (a barleywine – all one word – to be proper). Damn, this is complex. I don’t think a beer has had me so speechless before. I’ve spent half the evening sniffing the thing and the other half of it analysing the first few sips. Sod it. It’s delightful. That’s enough of a tasting note, right?
Ok, here’s a cross-section of the flavour profile I picked up; wave after wave of flavours continually switching places and bringing something new; Grapefruit pith bitterness, citrus marmalade, orange liqueurs, late nights in cocktail bars, apple skins, unidentified spice, almonds… rum, tequila and bourbon are the greatest impressions from the barrel ageing whilst a deep oaky- earthiness carries through. Oh, toasted teacakes.
Don’t let future editions get away from you.