When you’re part of an operation that also incorporates a winery, it would be a travesty in this day and age if you didn’t take advantage. And taking advantage of its sibling is something Napoleone’s brewers have been happy to do, with this Barleywine the result of one such endeavour. The base beer was aged for six months in four French oak barrels, two of which had previously housed white wine, one red and one a fortified wine. The four were then blended back together to create this 13 percent ABV sipper.
While there’s plenty of oak on the nose, the aroma is more centred on the intense, rummy sweet malts typical of such beers. The barrels’ previous residents come increasingly into play once you’ve taken a sip of the hazy copper drop, however. While that malt led sweetness and some alcohol derived warmth is there, you’ll also pick up a fair bit of wine character, with a long, dry, tannic finish helping this barleywine appear leaner than its heft would suggest.