12 Beers Of Christmas: 2 – Shepherd Neame Barley Wine

Beer Monster Review

4.5 stars

Quite a while ago the lovely folks at Shepherd Neame sent me a bottle of their Barley Wine. As they mentioned that it would probably age quite nicely, I stuck it in the back of the cupboard and forgot all about it.

A quick search suggests that was back in summer 2014 – longer than I realised – so by now it should be just about ready to drink!


Shepherd Neame Barley Wine is a properly monster 10% ABV. It’s a deep dark brown beer, almost opaque, and with a fairly light head on it.

The nose is rich, fruity and alcohol-laden, like sherry soaked plums. There are touches of bittersweet black treacle and perhaps even a hint of liquorice.

In the mouth it’s everything the nose promised – more black treacle giving a beautiful balance of sticky sweet and burnt, rich bitterness. There are black cherries and a wonderfully warming alcohol backdrop, enough to let you know this is a proper barley wine but never overpowering.

It’s incredibly easy drinking despite the richness, it’s another near perfect monster – 4.5 stars.

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