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I’d been hoping to get to this beer for a little while now, pretty much since its release back in March.  Scheduling conspired against me, however, so I am just now finally able to review it.  The good news I suppose is that with the Barrel Society switching to a quarterly release schedule this year I am not too far behind on the current lineup.  Naming theme this year is Shakespeare’s plays.

Beer Name: Titus Andronicus

Brewery: Night Shift Brewing Company (Everett, MA)

Style: Barley Wine

ABV: 11.2%

Description: From the front of the label, this is a barley wine aged in port finished bourbon barrels.  From the brewer’s notes: Titus Andronicus Brewer’s Notes: pours dark amber in color; nose of fig, plum, caramel, and bourbon; sips with big notes of port, molasses, toffee, and dark fruit; finish is sweet, mellow, and well-integrated.

Appearance: Dark caramel brown body with a thin tan head that did not stick around for long after the initial pour.

Smell: Sweet, brown sugar and caramel with a bit of heat on the end.

Taste: Toffee, caramel, and brown sugar sweetness upfront mixed with dark fruit about halfway through.  A slight bit of oak also came out in the middle as the beer transitioned to a moderately hot finish, the port influence coming out just a tad bit more than the bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Slightly slick, medium-plus thickness with low levels of carbonation.

Hype: I was hoping for a lot with this one.  Since there are fewer beers in this year’s series I am expecting them all to really stand out.  I was also excited by the style; I’ve always been on the lookout to get more into barley wine and it’s a style Night Shift has done very well in the recent past.

Overall: Very good, I enjoyed how the opening sweetness blended in with the port finish.  Definitely not a brew to drink quickly, this was a nice beer to sit down with at the end of the day and slowly sip at.  My one nitpick is that I wish the barrel influence was just a bit less noticeable in the middle, but this was only a minor observance and perhaps particular to my tastes.  Very curious to see how the other bottle ages.  Solid start to this year’s series.