No Corporate Beer Reviews: Ibex Cellar: Barrel-Aged Barleywine Ale

Beer: Ibex Cellar: Barrel-Aged Barleywine Ale
Brewery: Schlafly – The Saint Louis Brewery
Style: Barleywine – English
10.2% ABV / N/A IBU

Oh man. This one is a real treat – a barrel-aged English barleywine that sent chills up my spine at the first sip. I’ve been slow to come around to barleywines and wheat wines – they are the very definition of an acquired taste and such a cultish style that they’re never gonna become ubiquitous like IPAs. But a good barleywine embodies the character of the malt, toothsome enough on its own to stand up well to aging. This barleywine has a lot going on, including vanilla and oak-y notes (from the Kentucky bourbon barrels), making it a perfect beer to grab and uncork in early autumn.

Speaking of autumn beers, Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale (along with Southern Tier’s Pumking) is one of the most consistently excellent pumpkin/yam seasonals on the market. Schlafly has never been about attention-grabbing gimmicks: The packaging their beers is extremely muted, with drab label art, and most of their beers don’t have fancy names. Schlafly’s Kòlsch is the brewery’s rendition of that style, and so on. They’ve never paid much attention to that part of the marketing, opting instead for a truth-in-advertising approach and true dedication to the beer itself.

Ibex Cellar is Schlafly’s small-batch aged oaked beer series, spanning stouts, funky sours and fermentation experiments, saisons, and scotch ales. If this barleywine is any indication, the “Ibex Cellar” label is an imprimatur of quality. Like most barleywines, this has minimal carbonation and a quickly dissipating head. The nose is earthy – sort of a peat smell, likely from the whiskey notes. It’s certainly pleasant and warming and would fare well served in a snifter. Treat it like a cordial and break it out after your next fancy-dress dinner party or (more likely) set aside part of an evening for a very serious imperial pint.

More more info, check out Schlafly here.