Tasting: February 21, 2012
Style: Barleywine (wheat wine)
One of the legendary craft brewers of the day is Three Floyds Brewing (FFF) out of Munster, Indiana. To put their legend in perspective, the beer community — Ratebeer.com places FFF as the number one brewery in the world. They are followed by craft beer stalwarts – Founders and Bells. That’s some serious company. Their landmark stout is called “Dark Lord”and it is so enormous in popularity with the craft beer crowd that its release is celebrated with its own day each Spring — “Dark Lord Day”. This event and opportunity to buy Dark Lord are open only to those that win a “golden ticket” via a lottery. I’ll also note that the lottery ticket sales are donated to a local charity — very cool.
The brewery was started thirteen years ago by the Floyd family (father and two sons – hence Three Floyds or FFF). Their brewery is located a short drive from the south side of Chicago. Three Floyds is basically available only in the greater Chicago area — or sadly via eBay. While other brewers are scrambling to build new facilities to increase supply – it appears that FFF doesn’t have such grand plans as of yet. My wife has relatives in Chicago and one of these days, I’ll have a sampling shipped out. For now, I’ll have to settle for some of the collaborative works that include Three Floyds involvement.
This particular brew (love the name) is the fourth collaboration between nomadic brewer – Mikkeller and FFF. It’s called a “wheat wine” — really a “barley wine” — but in this brew, buckwheat is the replacement for barley. Like a typical barley wine – it has a high ABV – 10.4% (also 80 IBU). It pours a bright orange with an amazing thick off-white head. Sweet and hoppy aroma. Nice sweetness in my first few sips – fruity pineapple, mango and tangerine — but the hops roll in nicely in the form of (what else) grapefruit, pine and black tea. Real nice balance here between the buckwheat and hops. Mouthfeel is rich. My only real knocks are that the alcohol burn builds as I work my way through this bomber and — I guess Mikkeller handled the pricing — since it comes in at $14/bomber. I’ll still put it at 88 points.