With the release of latest entry in the 2016 Barrel Society lineup, it was time once again to visit my neighbors at Night Shift Brewing. It took me a few days to get to this one, but fortunately it was still available for tasting by the time I was able to get to the brewery.
Beer Name: Denali
Brewer: Night Shift Brewing Company
Style: Wheat Wine
Description: Described as wheat wine aged in bourbon barrels with “warm flavors of walnut, caramel, black tea and raisin,” it was bottled back in April and released to Barrel Society members on 05/16/2016. My 8 oz. serving was poured from the member’s tapline into a flute glass.
Appearance: Medium brown/dark amber body topped off by a healthy two-finger foamy off-white head.
Smell: Bourbon barrel and sweetness from dark fruits.
Taste: The beer had a moderate sweetness throughout; dark fruits upfront turning to caramel malt and brown sugar for the finish. Balancing out this sweetness were an oaky barrel presence and more subtle hints of vanilla and black tea in the background. There was also a good amount of bourbon towards the end, especially as the beer warmed. For me, this one got better and better with each sip as the longer it sat, the more these other flavors emerged. The alcohol was occasionally noticeable, though never strongly enough to suggest the beer was over 10%.
Mouthfeel: Thicker in body, it had a nice smoothness that complimented the various flavors and made the beer very pleasing to drink.
Hype Factor: Due to the nature of these releases, I think it is fair to say I go into each one with heightened expectations. I was also excited to see them do a wheat wine for this release considering how infrequently I drink this style and how much I liked Marilyn, their blonde barley wine, back in February.
Overall: Very solid offering. It featured an excellent blend of flavors and was very enjoyable and relaxing to sip at. Offering the right amounts of bourbon, sweetness, and supporting flavors I’d call this beer a success and an excellent second entry into this year’s series.