Winter is an exciting time for fans of big, dark brooding beasts of beers, a season when many breweries roll out new vintages of sought-after barrel-aged favourites. In South Australia, Mismatch’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout is one such highly anticipated release and, in 2022, another barrel-aged offering has also joined the fold: the Shiraz Barrel Aged Barley Wine. Both come in tallboy 500ml cans and, given they weigh in at 14 and 9 percent ABV respectively, you may require a tasting partner to share the load.
As for the newcomer, it possesses deep copper colour with a flickering glint of red from the shiraz. There's a touch of the barrels' former resident on the nose too, working alongside a little oak and currants. The sweet 'n' sticky mouthfeel of the Barrel-Aged Barley Wine carries some big, bold flavours, including sherry, more dark dried fruits and a little spice, not to mention a touch of caramel, shiraz and oak.
Opening the RIS, the bourbon really takes pride of place within this slick, boozy number. Even though the bourbon is prominent, it comes free of any harsh or rough sharpness; instead the spirit plays nicely with the rich imperial stout base. Some dusty cocoa chimes in with subtle oak to mellow things out a little without detracting from the bourbon, leading the way and ensuring this release is as tasty as ever.
There's another hefty release from Mismatch in bottleshop fridges too, which has been out a little longer but will no doubt be of interest to many. The Imperial NEIPA picked up gold at the Australian International Beer Awards in May and presents rather lighter in all ways than you might expect of such a beer. That doesn't prevent it from delivering vibrant tropi-citrus hop aromas in a manner that's flightier and less sticky than most hazy IPAs of this size. A bit of boozy prickle on palate is the only real hint at its heft, making it akin to drinking an enhanced hazy pale than an 8 percenter.
Published August 7, 2022 2022-08-07 00:00:00