Review of Shlafly Reserve 2008 Barleywine Style Ale

17 Dec
Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Schlafly Reserve 2008 Barleywine Style Ale produced by the St. Louis Brewery located in St. Louis, Missouri.

I have always thought that Schlafly brews were very underrated and solid, so I’m really looking forward to trying this beer.

Let’s read the commercial description from the website,

Our Oak Aged Barleywine has a deep copper color with intense malt flavors and assertive hops for balance.

Let’s pour, shall we?

(Sorry about the picture not being all that great.)

This brew comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle and has an ABV of 10.2%.

The pour produced a hazy, deep burgundy to brown color.  The head was light tan, somewhat small, tight, smooth and relatively creamy.  The retention time was adequate and the lacing held true and was easily regenerated with an aggressive swirl.  Not too bad there. 

The nose was nice and sweet.  Plenty of toffee, caramel and breadiness with a possibility of light citric fruit.  It gave me hints of molasses and sorghum with mild vanilla and oaky notes.  Just a mild touch of shoe leather in there too.  Not much alcohol was present, but some was accounted for.  The hop profile was rather subdued also, but I was able to pick up on a touch of earthiness.  Overall, it was a little on the sweet side, so the balance was a touch off in my opinion.  No matter, it still smelled quite nice.

The taste was very much like the aroma.  Further accents of the toffee, sweet caramel and breads.  Appreciable sugary molasses and biscuits.  The woodiness, oak and alcohol seemed to come forth a little bit stronger as well as the vanilla, but, once again, the hops and bitterness remained considerably moderate.  Not that it was a bad thing.  It just seemed to lend itself a little closer to the English Style Barleywine as opposed to the American Style.  Still pretty tasty.

The mouthfeel was a sturdy medium.  It was sticky, chewy and smooth with an ample amount of carbonation.  Not flat at all.  Very nice considering that this brew is over 3 years old.  More than enough flavor was left behind on the palate that’s for sure.  Quite a bit of warmth was retained also, but it never became hot nor did it leave any burn.

I’ll tell ya.  I thought this was a very solid Barleywine.  I would have no trouble drinking this again.  It really represents the style well.  The drinkability is not all that high, but it did make for a perfect late night sipper.  I definitely think it would be worth your time and effort to find a bottle and give it a try if you can find it.  Is it a “world class” Barleywine????…..  No, but it’s nothing to take lightly either.  Just a very solid and well crafted brew that could make for some interesting craft beer conversation.  So, with that being said, pick up a bottle of the Schlafly Reserve Barleywine Style Ale and see for yourself whether or not it’s worthy of some praise.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  Until next time.


Score:  4.0 out of 5
Grade:  B+ 

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Posted by on December 17, 2011 in Country: USA, Schlafly


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