You gotta respect what 7 Cent do. Three mates who love to home brew and brew what they want, regardless of the consequence. Let me provide you an example of their reckless abandon approach: their first release was a 9% Belgian Strong Ale which they served through a hand pump… Now that’s an approach to brewing I can get behind! The story I love even more is how they came by their name. With no idea for names they decided to give up and blow off some steam. By burning a couch. What was left the next day was some spare change, and some old spare change at that: one and two cent pieces. And you guessed it, it equalled up to 7 cents. So now comes their barrel aged Barley Wine, and in typical 7 Cent style it is a beast and even the barrel has its own story: starting life as a bourbon barrel, it then moved to whiskey and then off to Norway where it was filled with Nogne O’s part of the Aurora Borealis then off to Beechworth for Bridge Roads end. From there the 7 Cent boys picked it up and racked in their barley wine, leaving it for a total of 18 months. It’s a brilliant story, but is it a brilliant beer? Let’s find out.
Style: Dessert Barley Wine
From: Low Buy Liquor, Lilydale
Pours jet black with fine light brown/ tan head.
On The Nose:
Nose exhibits a brilliantly warming alcohol note with boozy raisins, sticky milk chocolate, burnt toffee and butterscotch, vanilla bean, roasted coffee and rich espresso with brilliant, warming whiskey and bourbon notes with oaky char aromatics. Sherry sweet and brilliant balance.
Expect to find rich, sticky Oloroso sherry sweetness here with notes of liquorice, raisin, honeyed prunes and luscious sweet malts and biscuit with roast hazelnuts and almonds. Now for the finish, and this is where the barrel ageing really shines through: you’ll find drying dark cocoa tannin and smokey notes, warming whiskey, bourbon and lots of oak chip dryness with a slight vegemite saltiness. Sherry sweet, oak and honey with brilliant, warming balance.
This is quite possibly the best dessert style brew I’ve ever had. Sure, sweetness is going to be expected here but with the barrel ageing there is some serious complexity driving the finish, rounding out aromatics and adding fantastic dryness. Those whiskey bourbon notes are an absolute knock out. Overall, the sweetness is brilliantly balanced with well integrated tannin dryness from the barrel ageing and a warmth spreading to you fingers and toes. Harmonious, warming and complex, it has literally got it all. Luckily for me I got myself another bottle, cannot wait to see how this looks with a bit a cellaring. With an impressive core range and some brilliant experimental stuff going on (they now have started a barrel ageing program), keeping an eye on these guys would be in your best interest.