Barleywine – Collaboration: Scottish/American: BrewDog / Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus

This week’s beer is a Collaboration beer from Brewdog and Oskar Blues. This beer is a Barley Wine, the first on this site. I chose this beer because it’s a mix of an English style Barley Wine and an American Style one. There are some subtle differences, English Barley Wines are usually more malt-forward, whilst American Barley Wines are much more Hop Orientated. Brewdog (Scotland, UK) and Oskar Blues (Longmont, Colorado) are two breweries that are extremely passionate about what they do, and this is no exception.

Let’s start with the online description of the beer:

In collaboration with the awesome Oskar Blues from Colorado, we’ve created this big, twisted 10.5% American style barley wine. With big boozy aromas that’ll swirl round your nostrils and a sweet viscosity that’ll cover your tongue from top to tip, this is a beer for people who enjoy nonsense and walking on tightropes. Even when the Circus packs up and leaves, you’re left with a lingering warmth and bitterness playing in your mouth.

I say this is the online description, because this beer is bottled by Brewdog and their descriptions are always full of Bravado and strange metaphors. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, and it’s what I have come to expect from Brewdog (Has anyone seen Brew Dogs on TV?!) I picked the online description, as I feel that it represents both breweries well and gives you a bit of a description of the beer, although it’s still full of some great metaphors. From the description, we’re expecting something something boozy with lots of complex flavours, which sounds like exactly what we need with the first cold snap attacking the UK!

Although Brewdog are always very open about what they use to brew, the brew-sheet for this beer has been offline for quite a while as this Barley Wine was released this time last year. The reason I’ve kept it until now is that Barley Wines tend to mellow out over time and the flavours get more complex as it sits in the bottle. The malts in this beer are what I’d expect from an English Barley Wine, Extra Pale, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate. The hop bill is where it gets interesting, and gives it the American twist. Chinook, Cascade, Citra are used giving some piney, resinous and fruity flavours. Citra definitely was an interesting addition, and when I learned this I was very interested to see how it faired in a Barley Wine.

When you pour this beer, it comes out with a Copper/Ruby colour and looks a bit like a Red/Amber Ale to start with. As more beer goes into the glass, it starts getting thicker and darker and develops a Tan coloured head. The smell of alcohol is the first thing you notice after pouring, but after a while the other aromas come through. Loads of Marshmallow, Stone Fruits, Toffee, Caramel with hints of Pineapple and Dried Apricot (Citra?!). This is definitely a sipping beer, at 10.5% and a smell like this you can tell it’s going to be a true Winter brew. After taking your first sip, you get hit by Roasted Marshmallow, Some dark, Sweet Roasty Malts, Dates, Plumb and Fig. After this fades, the hops take control and you get hints of Lime, Pineapple and a little bit of some other Citrus and Tropical fruits along with some Brown Sugar. This beer is sticky on your lips, is medium carbonated and finishes quite sweet. All in all, this is a great brew and something you can still buy even though the release was last year! Winter is coming, and this is definitely one that will see you through with some warmth from the Roasty flavours and Alcohol.

You can purchase Shipwrecker Circus in the UK at:

Beer Ritz (IN STOCK at time of writing!)

As this is a limited beer, you may need to do quite a bit of Google-ing, but it’s definitely out there!

For any Bars/Shops looking to stock this beer you can Contact the Brewdog rep in your area for more info. I hear Brewdog also import Oskar Blues to the UK, but this will have to be something you can tell them you’ve heard on the grapevine!

EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%

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