Oakshire Brewing unveils the inaugural installment of its Hellshire series, the Hellshire I Barleywine Ale, boasting a full 10 months of aging in Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels. Laden with notes of vanilla, coconut, oak, and bourbon, this beer claims to offer a complex interplay of flavors, inviting enthusiasts to savor it immediately or contemplate its potential evolution through months or even years of aging. At 10% alcohol by volume, it’s encapsulated in a 22-ounce wax-dipped bottle, adding a touch of mystique to the overall presentation.


Pouring into a goblet, Hellshire I exhibits a rusty orange hue crowned by a modest eggshell-colored head. The visual allure sets the stage for what promises to be a sensory journey.


The olfactory experience is dominated by a potent amalgamation of alcohol, accompanied by danky peach and apricot notes. The fragrance emanates a robust intensity, hinting at the beer’s bold character.


Upon the palate, a bold profile unfolds, featuring assertive bitter hops, accompanied by a pronounced heat from the bourbon infusion. The interplay between the hop bitterness and the sweet malt creates a dynamic flavor spectrum, albeit one that finishes with a noticeable warmth.


The beer’s texture contributes to its overall impact, with a hot and sticky full body that envelops the senses. Despite a modest level of carbonation, the mouthfeel leaves a lasting impression.


In a critical assessment, Hellshire I prompts the belief that it benefits from a minimum of a year of maturation to temper its intensity. The beer’s complexity, while intriguing, tends to overshadow some of the subtleties of the barrel aging, perhaps overwhelming the palate with its multifaceted character. “Hellshire” indeed lives up to its name, offering an intense experience that demands patience for a fuller appreciation.