Alpine Beer Co. presents their take on the barleywine style with the Alpine Great, a brew that has matured for a substantial 12 months in carefully selected bourbon barrels. In this critique, we delve into the nuances of the Vintage 2009 release, savored in December 2010, straight from the tap, boasting a formidable 15% alcohol by volume (abv).

Appearance: A Viscous Iced Tea Brown with a Stark Absence of Head

The Alpine Great pours with a visually striking iced tea brown hue, showcasing a surprising lack of head. The beer’s viscosity is evident, promising a substantial and weighty experience.

Aroma: A Symphony of Tropical Notes with a Boozy Undertone

The olfactory journey of Alpine Great unfolds with a burst of tropical aromas, featuring notes of dried coconut, pineapple, and mango, all delicately coated with powdered sugar. This fruity symphony harmonizes with underlying hints of brown sugar and a subtle yet perceptible alcohol presence.

Taste: A Decadent Dessert Ensemble

The flavor profile of Alpine Great is nothing short of a dessert lover’s dream. Rich notes of maple syrup, indulgent chocolate fudge, and luscious caramel take center stage, complemented by the nuanced sweetness of raisins. The wood aging imparts an additional layer of complexity to the overall taste.

Mouthfeel: Unapologetically Goopy with Subdued Carbonation

The mouthfeel of Alpine Great lives up to its decadent flavor profile, presenting a texture that can only be described as “goopy as hell.” The low carbonation enhances the brew’s viscosity, contributing to a velvety and indulgent drinking experience.

Overall: A Dessert-Like Delight

In the grand scheme of barleywines, Alpine Great stands out as an extraordinary dessert-like offering. The meticulous barrel aging process has bestowed upon it a depth of flavors that make it a truly enjoyable experience. While not for those seeking a light and effervescent beer, Alpine Great excels in delivering a decadent and satisfying brew for those with a penchant for rich, dessert-inspired libations.