Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Italian Beer Series: Almond '22 Torbata & Noa (Pescara)

Here I have two barley wines from Almond '22, a brewery in Abruzzo. Great stuff, my first time trying such aggressive beers. Enjoy!

Almond '22 Torbata is my first barley wine, and it is true to form: strong, challenging and overwhelming. Upon opening, the aroma is of cane sugar, perfume, and alcohol. Head is off-white, coarse, and not very long-lasting. Carbonation is moderate and the body is medium. The beer is 8.7%, a touch lower in ABV than the typical barley wine, but the alcohol is very strong, with the heat in the chest hitting almost immediately. Taste is of smokiness, raisins and blackened sugar, but that bitterness--which I cannot pinpoint if it is of hops or just the alcohol--is extremely overwhelming. The experience is not unlike a really weak whiskey. I think this has a lot going on, which in time can really improve and become delicious.

Another barley wine from Almond '22, this one a little more sophisticated and harmonious. The aroma is of dried fruits and oranges, almost like red wine in its fruitiness. The head is medium, brownish, a little coarse, and does not last long but leaves a bit of lacing. The color is a dark red-orange, cloudy, which provides a medium body and strong carbonation. The taste is complex, with hints of spices and wood delicately rounding out the beer's malty and dry sweetness. The beer finishes with an alcoholic bitterness, and the 10% ABV hits fairly quickly. The kick is strong, but again I think some aging may allow this beer to mellow out and be much better. But fresh out of the keg, this one is definitely better.

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