I’ve had 3 of these damned things in my possession and never treated myself so here we go. This is a “C” bottle (187mL nip). I’ve had this in my possession for about 20 years, trusting the prior owner, though not knowing its history for sure.
Cracking the cap with a BIG hiss…ummm, that’s odd…
Pours nicely with a good clarity and small head, plentiful carbonation.
Immediately emerging is dark fruit mixed with an almost olive and blue cheese character…but not as bad as that sounds. Some definite smoky phenols crowd in. But there’s not a single off-putting note.
In the mouth it’s soft, malty, very comforting, lightly sweet with brown sugar, honey and raisin. No Soy! Wow. I’ve had so many aged barleywines and aged beers that I just expect soy and cardboard at this point. Especially at this age. But that isn’t the force of it at all. I sincerely think you could trick someone in to thinking this was a 5 year old barleywine.
Cheers to a beautiful brewery and an unbelievable experience. Even if there is some Brett refermentation in the bottle, it’s still very mild, even and not oxidized. I think that’s the biggest take-away here. Age doesn’t have to be a death sentence. That said, I don’t know how you accomplish this level of graceful aging.