Friday, December 7, 2012

Pelican Pub and Brewery - Mother of All Storms

I used to not be a fan of barleywines. So much so, in fact, that for a while I considered them my least favorite style (not counting Pizza Beer). But I realized that there were just too many barleywines out there to discount the entire style. And so, gradually, I began to give more of them a try and I started to appreciate them a bit more. I didn't think they were good, but the style was becoming tolerable to me. Then I tried Firestone's Abacus (now called Sucaba) and my mind was absolutely blown. Not only had I found a drinkable barleywine, I had fallen in love. I looked for more and more barelywines to try and found one lurking pretty high in the ranks of the Top 100 that I decided I had to have. But the brewery that made it was a smaller brewery in Oregon called Pelican Pub and Brewery and the beer wasn't really being distributed at all. This kind of problem seems to happen to me a lot.

Fast forward a few months to the end of last year when my friend, Beau, moved to Portland. We talked about getting a trade together and I mentioned that a beer called Mother of All Storms was going to be released in November and I had heard great things about it. Great friend that he is, he managed to go to the brewery on the day of release and score me a bottle. While he was at the brewery, he tried a few different years of Mother of All Storms and while he confirmed that the beer was as amazing as I had heard, he recommended I cellar it for a bit, because the beer seemed way better with a little age under it. So with a ton of hesitance, I set the bottle aside and tried to forget that I had it. Since it's now been over a year, I finally decided that some friends and I would open it alongside a bunch of other barleywines I've been saving for a giant barleywine tasting in a few weeks. But a part of me always wondered what this beer would taste like fresh.

A few days ago, I got an email from a guy at a local bottleshop. The email read "Pelican Pub and Brewery Mother of All Storms- Arrived." I stared at my phone in disbelief for a while, reading and rereading the words. There was no way. As soon as I got out of work, I hurried over there and, sure enough, found a 2012 bottle of Mother of All Storms. My prayers had been answered. At number 49 on the Top 100 List, here's Mother of All Storms.

Mother of All Storms pours a deep reddish brown color with a thin sand colored head. The beer just looks thick in the glass, almost like a dark colored bourbon. The smell opens with a rich aroma of bourbon that's strong without being overpowering. Behind the bourbon, I was able to pick out lots of toffee, raisin, brown sugar, toasted coconut, oak and some dark fruit. This beer is bourbon barrel-aged, so I was a little worried that the bourbon smell might be a little too strong right out of the gate, but it seemed just right.

The taste opens with some burnt raisin skins and a good dose of bourbon. Soon after comes rich notes of vanilla, toffee, butterscotch and toasted oak. The beer leaves a dry and warming sensation after every sip. At 13.5%, this is a huge beer, but it's not harsh at all, even this fresh. I don't know if I liked this better than Abacus, but it's very close and that's saying a lot. I can't wait to try this beer with some age on it as part of the barleywine tasting and I will report back as soon as that happens.

Final Grade: A

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 46

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