The Perennial Barrel-Aged 17 makes a bold entrance, pouring like a sludgy, used motor oil that proudly flaunts its impenetrable blackness. The dark russet foam it generates adds a touch of menace, though its rapid collapse is a minor letdown. The absence of the characteristic white wax dip may raise eyebrows for those familiar with the commercial release, but the subtle label detail confirms the whiskey barrel aging.


Upon raising the glass, a lively burst of fresh mint dominates the olfactory experience, akin to the scent of freshly crushed peppermint. This minty freshness intermingles with robust roasted malt notes, evoking memories of Andes Mints candies. While the purpose of the whiskey barrel is evident, its presence remains faint, allowing the mint, the soul of the 17, to shine without overpowering nuances.


In the realm of flavor, the Barrel-Aged 17 strikes a delicate equilibrium. Herbal mint imparts a refreshing coolness, harmonizing with potent wood tannins and a surprisingly dry finish for such a robust imperial stout. Despite an almost acidic intensity in the roastiness, the beer achieves a soft and creamy mouthfeel, courtesy of melted dark chocolate entwined with an abundance of fresh mint, creating an almost numbing effect. The whiskey barrel, subtly integrated, conceals its 13% ABV, rendering the booziness nearly imperceptible.


This sipping beer demands a shared experience, maintaining its remarkable mint character throughout. The bitter, sharply roasty base takes center stage, with warming alcohol and wood tannins lingering at the periphery. While lacking a side-by-side comparison with the non-barrel-aged variant, the barrel presence appears restrained, potentially disappointing those anticipating an assertive rye bourbon experience. Nevertheless, the Barrel-Aged 17 remains a mint-centric spectacle.


Perennial’s Barrel-Aged 17 Mint Chocolate Stout navigates a fine line, offering a sophisticated and balanced profile. Mint enthusiasts will revel in its unabashed dedication to the herb, while others might find the subdued barrel presence a slight deviation from expectations. This 2018 edition, absent the customary wax dip, holds its own as a distinctive and shareable imperial stout, proving that, above all, it’s all about that mint.

Today, let’s delve into the essence of beer reviews and their significance. Reflecting on over a decade of beer reviewing, it becomes evident that the value lies in striking a balance between usefulness for consumers and constructive feedback for businesses. Critical reviews, focusing on detailed diagnostics rather than emotional responses, tend to be more impactful. While praise is pleasant, it’s the critical evaluations that capture attention and prompt introspection, fostering improvement.

Crafting a well-written critical review is not an act of hostility; rather, it serves as invaluable quality control. Producers should perceive such feedback as an opportunity for enhancement rather than a detriment to sales. Embracing critical reviews can prevent unforeseen declines in product quality, ensuring businesses stay competitive in the ever-evolving market.

In today’s digital landscape, online reviews offer producers instant feedback, a boon for those who utilize it effectively. It’s crucial to maintain a delicate balance between respect for businesses and an honest appraisal of their products. Disagreements are natural, but undermining and discrediting opinions undermine the essence of constructive criticism.

Acknowledging personal preferences and biases, as demonstrated by listing preferred beer styles, adds transparency to reviews. Readers, too, should recognize the subjectivity inherent in reviews and respect differing opinions. A critical review should be viewed not as a hindrance but as a conduit for improving product quality and, ultimately, business success.

In essence, critical reviews are a form of free quality control, offering businesses a chance to adapt and thrive in a competitive market. As we navigate the intricate world of beer reviews, let’s uphold the principles of honesty, respect, and a shared passion for quality craft beer. Happy beer hunting!