Did you know that Phantom Canyon sells bottles of their barleywine? Not many people do. I got a bottle of this and invited Isaac Grindeland and Grant Goodwiler to do a blind judging of this beer. That means that they didn’t get to know who made it, so any bias they might have toward or against a certain brewery was not present. Read below what they said about the beer and what number ranking they gave it (based somewhat on BJCP guidelines).
Title: Phantom Canyon Brewing, Winston Smith’s Barleywine
Beer Geek Info:
Hops- German Magnum, Galena
Malts- 60% Rahr 2-row, 30% Dark Munich, 9% Simpson’s Crystal 75, 1% Cane Sugar
Water- emulates Burton-on-Trent, UK
Color- 18° SRM
Yeast: From Whitbread Brewery, Chiswell, London, United Kingdom and Thomas Hardy Brewery, Dorchester, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Dark fruit, caramel, oak, toffee, melanoidens, maltiness, some hops, alcohol
Dark brown, light brown moderate head, good retention, clear
Brown, slightly opaque, short lasting bone white head
Intense caramel and heavy barley with toffee, alcohol and some hops, not aggressive, no burnt flavors, sweet aftertaste
Dark fruits, oak, toffee, very well balanced beer
Full bodied, smooth and silky, alcohol warmth, almost syrupy, moderate carbonation
Alcohol, slight heat from the sweet with lasting flavors
A delicious example of an American barleywine. The whiskey does come out, but is not hot. Very pleasant flavors, but does become cloying with warmth.
Would like to taste a bit more whiskey flavor but overall a very drinkable barleywine style ale.
A score of a 41 or 42 is a very good score in the beer world, and someone with that ranking should be truly proud of their beer. Before I told Isaac and Grant who made the beer I asked the guys what they would price a 22oz bottle of this beer. They were reluctant to answer because packaging plays a part as does the name of the brewery. One is willing to pay more for a good looking bottle of beer. But I pushed them and they said with basic packaging, about $15 is what they’d think this beer is worth. They said specifically that $12 is too low. Well, the beer is indeed $15 if you were to pick it up at Phantom (Phantom Canyon is the only place you can buy it). After guessing a number of different breweries, they thought that maybe the beer came from Avery. After shooting down 10’s of brewery guesses, they finally guessed Phantom and felt confident that it was them. I told them it was. I asked them if they were surprised that such a good beer came from Phantom and they said “No, Alan is a great brewer.”