Thursday, September 6, 2012

Full Sail Brewer's Share Extra Special Barney review

Full Sail Brewer's Share E.S.B.How would you like to own a share of a brewery just by purchasing a bottle? Well, you can't, but that's the impression you get when you buy a bottle of Full Sail Brewing's E.S.B - aka Extra Special Barney. In this case, Barney stands for Barney Brennon, the main brewing supervisor at Full Sail. The label looks like a share of stock in the company. Even the underside of the cap shows "1 Brewer's Share".

Full Sail gives a portion of the proceeds of this beer to charity. This beer's charity is the Columbia Gorge Arts in Education, a non-profit dedicated to providing arts education for K-12 school kids in the Columbia Gorge region in the Pacific Northwest.

Extra Special Barney is part of their Brewer's Share series of beers that came out in 2012. This beer weighs in at 6.5% ABV and is rated at 35 IBUs. This series is bottled in 22oz bombers and has a different recipe brewed with each season of the year. I believe this one came out at the beginning of 2012. E.S.B uses 5 different malt varieties, and uses Challenger hops (English variety).

Appearance: Extra Special Barney poured a good looking amber color with a generous thick light tan head. The head stuck around for a long time and the lacing was everywhere and stuck to the glass very well. The beer had excellent clarity although I couldn't see all the way through this beer due to it's color.

Aroma: The hops in this beer gave off a spicy and somewhat floral character. Add to that a nice complex malt nose. They weren't as much sweet, but I could pick up some caramel malt. On occasion I would pick up traces of diacetyl, but it seemed to go with this brew and in this category, some small amounts are considered OK. Between the spicy hops and caramel, this beer had a rich, complex and fresh smell. Very pleasant to inhale.

Taste: This beer has a medium body and was full of a moderately rich caramel malt flavor. There was some nutty characteristics also. The hops were blended well and were mildly bitter throughout. My mouth was left with a dry bitter sensation after each sip. My tongue got slightly coated with the beer too. The alcohol in this beer was mostly hidden. It took many sips to start to notice the effects.

Overall: For the price, this beer seemed well worth it. It had all of the characteristics of a good ESB (extra special bitter) and was fairly easy drinking. I wouldn't call this a session beer as one of them seemed to be all the potency I was looking for. This was one of several different Full Sail beers I've had over the last 5 years and each one was well worth it. I like their stronger ales and this one met my expectations and a bit more. Well worth seeking out.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer.

Afterthought: Once I was near the end of the bomber, my taste bud senses seemed to be saturated. It coats the tongue more and more as I went along. Need to cleanse the palate well during this drinking session else you get beer tongue.

Related beer reviews of Full Sail Brewing:
- Full Sail Bump in the Night review. (2011)
- Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout review. (2010)
- Full Sail Top Sail Imperial Porter review. (2008)

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