Location: San Antonia, TX
Small Batch No. 3 is an English Style Barleywine in a series of small batch releases from the Texas brewery. Here's a little more information about the small batch series from Ranger Creek's website:
Our Small Batch Series is a line of seasonal single batch brews designed to be unique, interesting, and often experimental. Each one is made in small quantities and with a completely different recipe. The unique color, number, and QR code on each label identifies each batch, the details of which can be referenced on our website or by scanning the QR code with a smart phone. Small Batch Series releases are meant to age well over time, so drink a bottle now and save others to enjoy later. They will cellar best in a dark place around 50 degrees. Each batch is brewed and bottled by hand and undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle. Pour carefully so as not to rouse the yeast.Before I move forward with this review, I have to give this disclaimer: my expectations are low. I'm even a bit wary. After talking to people who have tried this, and after reading several other posts about the beer, I fully expect this beer to be infected and funkified to the max. But despite my wariness, I'll proceed...
|This bottle has a hand-written bottling date of 10-8-12|
Aroma: Smells like a saison, not a barleywine. Brett-like yeast aromas, spicy notes, hints of sweet caramel malt.
Taste: Sweet and fruity with a malted backbone and an obvious sourness on the middle of the palate that follows the flavors 'til the end. The taste isn't as funky as the nose, but it's certainly sour and definitely infected as so many others have posted. The finish is slightly oaky with sweet malts.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Flavors linger on the tongue for a while, giving it a perceived heaviness.
Overall: There just isn't the depth and complexity that I hoped for. I put this bottle in my cellar in 2012 with high hopes. I can see where they wanted to go with this beer. The sweet malt offers a glimpse of the barleywine that Ranger Creek wanted to create. However, somewhere along the way, the yeast has gone funky and has no hopes of maturing into the beer it should have.
Sadly, I must admit to pouring the remaining liquid down the drain. I drank enough to provide a thorough review, but had no desire to finish what was left in the bottle or glass.