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Bottling Date: December 8, 2022
Life Volume 3 features Bairds Malt, which is well known to us here at Breakside. Various Bairds products are key to many of our pale ale recipes, as well as some of our specialty porters, and even some oddball beers like Fall Apple Ale. For many years, Bairds Munich made up a large part of the grist of Wanderlust, but as that beer has evolved over the years, we have subbed in some other Munich malts in its place.
In Life 3, we have pulled out all of the dark crystal malts. While we retain a very small amount of Black Malt in the grist for color purposes, we wanted to see how a barleywine driven on the specialty malt side by two lighter (and, I mean that term relatively here– these still aren’t everyday C-malts) crystals. Not surprisingly, much of the roasty edge that could be found in Vols 1 and 2 has given way to more traditional caramel and toffee-like flavors. Think brown sugar, molasses, par-baked pie crust, anything baked with a little brown sugar on it, and you’re in the right realm of flavor.
Because of some adjustments on the fermentation side, this batch also has a more pronounced ester profile than versions 1 and 2. We’re not talking weissbier level ester here; it’s more subtle than that. But if you taste for it, you’ll find a little more honey, rose, and pear notes here, and they’re not coming from malt. When we originally conceived of LIFE, the idea was to make a barleywine that really had very little ester– sort of hybrid take on the style, where malt was unapologetically in the driver’s seat. I think that’s still the case in this beer, but the malt has a passenger now. It’s a little less denuded, but perhaps more true to traditional barleywine.