This is the Alesmith 2008 anniversary ale. I aged this beer starting around eight or nine months ago, however, presumably it was on the shelf for sometime before that.
This has a typical fruity and hoppy barleywine smell complimented with caramel and toffee, but it certainly isn't a potent one, I actually had to take two sniffs after being surprised by not getting much aroma after my first. Drinking this beer I feel a little conflicted because I want to like it. I've been aging it for the better part of a year and was saving it for spectacular unveiling. However, sip after sip, I'm not finding the characteristics that I'd like.
The rich berry-malty flavor that often defines a good barleywine, tastes all wrong as it goes thin and sour in the mouth; the body comes off like a sour apple cider. The hop character which emerges early, disappears entirely under the sourness of the malts.
Ultimately, the two tastes feel disconnected and you're left with the overall impression of sourness in your mouth. To be fair, I looked on beer advocate and saw that this beer was rated as an A-. It looks as though it may have had a peak age as reviews were split between those who enjoyed the beer and those had bad experiences after aging it too long. Perhaps the Decadence of 2008 had no place aging in a recession ridden 2009?
2008 Decadence Anniversary Ale: **