Green Flash Brewing’s Cellar 3 Barrelmaster’s Reserve Ochre Frumento, a Californian barleywine, takes the stage with a potent 17.5% ABV. Aged for a substantial 6 years in brandy and bourbon barrels, this beer promises a unique journey into gluttonous decadence and intricate complexity.

A Visual Prelude

Pouring out of its 750mL corked and caged bottle from the August 2016 release, the Ochre Frumento unveils itself in a deep brown hue, akin to a Tawny port. The initial lively carbonation and large beige head fade swiftly, leaving behind a hazy sepia liquid in the glass.

Aromas: Spirited and Spicy

The aroma of this brew is an olfactory adventure, dominated by spiced dark rum, amaretto, and dark fruits like raisin and dates. Sweeter brandy and Port wine notes dance in the air, accompanied by hints of starchy red candy. Even after aeration, the fumey dark alcohol persists, setting the tone for what lies ahead.

Palate Exploration

The flavor journey of Ochre Frumento commences with a focus on rum raisin and a warming alcohol presence that’s present but not overwhelming. Mid-palate introduces unexpected touches of lemon acid and savory soy sauce, yet the rum raisin and brandy barrel remain prominent. The finish is a clean departure with dark grape vinous notes, mild sugar, and a lingering touch of drying cinnamon.

Texture and Thin Surprises

In terms of mouthfeel, the beer defies expectations for its style, presenting a fairly thin and dry profile. Contrary to assumptions based on its powerful aroma, the beer’s body leans towards the lighter side. The high 17.5% ABV plays a role, thinning out the overall texture, resulting in a more enjoyable experience.

Spirit-Forward Success

Despite some departures from typical barleywine expectations, the Cellar 3 Barrelmaster’s Reserve Ochre Frumento earns praise for its bold spirit-forward approach. The predominant showcase of brandy aromas and flavors demonstrates Cellar 3’s prowess in crafting this blend. This beer stands as a testament to the brewery’s growth in its barrel program, showcasing improvements and a promising maturation.

Final Verdict: Sharing is Caring

In conclusion, Green Flash’s Ochre Frumento is a highly enjoyable creation that encourages communal sipping. With the tagline “share with friends” under the wire cage cap, the format and elevated ABV make sharing not just a suggestion but a necessity. This barleywine exemplifies Cellar 3’s evolving prowess and marks a positive step in their barrel-aged lineup.