It returns! The Beer O’Clock Show roll out the #12beersofxmas for its third year, encouraging you and I to take part on social media. This is my second year of taking part, and my word what a year it has been. Buying a house and moving out of our little flat was an exciting highlight on a personal level. It distracted from the blogging a little though and I found myself up to my elbows in emulsion more times than I care to remember and so the blog posts became more sparing than I’d have liked. I did however start my Sussex Beer Now series (finally) and so it seems appropriate to kick off this year’s 12 Beers of Xmas with a Sussex brew.
I bought Kippered by Ballards way back in the early part of the year, maybe 10 months ago, with the intention of ageing it for this occasion. I picked it up in Beer Essentials, a wonderful little bottle shop in Horsham. It’s a Barley Wine, sitting at the lower end for the style at 8.5% abv. It pours a rich mahogany with a foamy cream head carrying aromas of a woody/earthy nature, a touch of burnt sugar wrestling with a vinous red berry quality and a hint of shy almond.
There’s an earthy, oaken quality to the flavour upfront, quickly joined by red berry tartness and that vinous edge but a sweeping grapefruit pithiness cuts through that before it becomes too overwhelming. A dry finish is a medley of chewy toffee, hazelnut, dried fruits and a hint towards roasted coffee beans. The sharpness that it has taken on is maybe a touch more than I expected but it’s not bad, in fact, it’s almost approaching the territory of a Flanders Red.
Here’s to the start of this years #12beersofxmas, cheers guys!