Sunday, February 16, 2014

Clown Shoes, Crunkle Sam

The last of the gift bottles of American craft ale, which I didn't drink during my tasting marathon over the vacation, because I was a bit scared and wanted someone to share it with. I'm not sure 22oz of barley wine in one sitting is a good idea for anyone! The following review includes the input of my co-conspirators/co-revelers.

Clown Shoes, Crunkle Sam Barley Wine (11% ABV): this potent ale from Ipswich, Massachusetts is somewhere between a ripe red and a dark amber (there was a bit of argument within the group over whether there was any red in there at all; others preferred to say it was just brown), with a creamy foam and a rich smell of cherry and dried fruit. On the tip of the tongue the beer is sickly sweet, with orange zest, burnt toffee and stewed currant; a lovely blend of hops combines with harsh sweetness further back in the mouth, making it hard to swallow in any quantity, but somehow comforting a sip at a time. There's a subtle but not particularly long-lasting aftertaste of citrus, sand and fruity yeast. It was really not bad at all, less brutal than some barley wines, but still far too sweet for my taste. Nobody was especially scathing about it, but I don't remember any great enthusiasm either (even among the cider drinkers who presumably don't mind cloying, fructose-filled drinks!).

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