14 February 2018

Dinky Binkie

Herself acquired a bottle of Binkie Claws barley wine on our recent trip to the Netherlands. Though De Molen badged and packaged, this claims to be based on Hair of the Dog's Doggie Claws, though what was brewed where is unclear. They've done a few versions of this and the 2017 one is 14.4% ABV and was given 27 months' maturation in bourbon casks. After that it was freshness all the way: cracking the wax seal after less than a month in the bottle.

It's a very dark red-brown colour and smells more like Madeira wine than beer or bourbon: that juicy ripe grape thing, shading almost towards brandy. The flavour continues the grapeish character, turning to prunes, and adding a tincture of autolytic chocolate, but there's amazingly no rough alcohol heat. I guess that's what the extended barrel time does, knocking all the rough edges off and leaving a beautifully smooth and classy sipper. A light sparkle reminds you that it's still a beer not a liqueur, as does a gentle herbal bitterness.

This is a really good late-night sipper and the effort that went into it pays off wonderfully. 27 months folks: that's the magic number.

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