Samuel Adams Griffin’s Bow
- Carmel, esters of apple and honeysuckle
- Sharp with a burst of spice and brown sugar, apple
- Bitter and smooth
Limited edition brew in 22 oz. bottles. 11.5% ABV
Where has this been all my life?
I continue to be impressed by the beers Samuel Adams puts out. I know many of my fellow craft-beer aficionados are a bit reluctant to admit enjoying Sam Adams, but I find it to be one of the most consistently excellent craft brewers. Samuel Adams has obviously managed its growth very well. The latest proof of this is their limited edition Griffin’s Bow.Griffin’s Bow is a barleywine, but a barleywine unlike any other I’ve tried. The label describes it as “oaked blonde barleywine ale.” I give Sam Adams a lot of credit for writing “barleywine” and not “barleywine-style,” which is redundant. Maybe putting “ale” after “barleywine” prevented the gov’m’t from cracking down. The beer is aged in oak barrels, allowing unique esters to form, but not for too long. This beer is a rich amber color, but not copper or darker like most barleywines, so I expect that it is a fairly young beer. The label states that Griffin’s Bow can be enjoyed now or aged to “further develop rich and unique flavors.” I, obviously, couldn’t wait to open my bottle, but I will get another (or two) to age in a dark place.
Okay, caveat: This is a barleywine. All barleywines are bitter from their malts, as well as getting bitterness from the hops. They’re sharper than most beers, and some folks who dig IPAs or dry hopped beers still don’t like barleywines because of the bitterness. But folks who enjoy dubbels or Trappist beers would probably enjoy a barleywine. Barleywines are on the intermediate level of beer enjoyment.
Having said that, I’d still recommend Griffin’s Bow to those that haven’t enjoyed other barleywines. The barrel-aging and unique brown sugar flavor to this beer may be a perfect entry into the challenging barleywine family.