Style: American Barleywine
Color: Dark Mahogany
Malts: Euro Pils, Vienna, Munich, Dark Crystal
Hops: Warrior, Chinook, Simcoe
HopBack Hops: Whole leaf Nugget, Simcoe
JuJu: Cane Sugar
As with all Tröegs bottles, I like this one a lot. The graphic art/comic book-style to the label is just great, the colors are vibrant, and the text is pretty funky. This is my first pint bottle from Tröegs, but that does not affect the art at all. My biggest complaint is that they left it all on one label on the front of the bottle instead of throwing the warnings and legal crap on the back of the bottle. They have nicely sequestered these eye sores to the extremities of the label, though, and this allows the middle to still shine through. I love the flying swirling bottle cap thing that is presumably the Flying Mouflan. After scouring the internet and my own obsessive knowledge of world mythologies and folklore, I can comfortably say that the Flying Mouflan and the Mouflan in general is an original creation of Tröegs and I congratulate them on that… I think. Apple’s Sirri program claims Mouflans were mythical creatures found in the cellars of monks, and that they suckled on aging beers to sprout wings. I love a good invented mythology, and this Mouflan stuff reeks of it. This bottle is surely one for the shelves.
The bottle pours a deep murky maroon that is nearly candied dark brown. The head is surprisingly large and frothy with a maple-syrup-mixed-into-whipped-cream coloring to it. Lacing from the beer is sticky and web-like over the glass, leaving fat stalactites of foam on my snifter’s walls. The beer smells bitter and sweet, but surprisingly underwhelming, with notes of prickly alcohol and cloyingly sweet candied sugars and caramel assaulting the nose. Brown sugar is also present and enticing, evening out some of the harsher notes of the smell, though it really is a light smell overall. Faint hints of pine and citrus hops can be found, though this is a 2011 bottle of Flying Mouflan, so they have obviously died down a little. Slight bready notes can also be sensed in the edges of the smell, falling away into the sweet alcohol smell. As it warms up the phenol smells grow stronger. The beer tastes big and pleasant. The flavor profile is surprisingly simple, but actually quite tasty. The beer opens as caramelly bready before opening into sweet candied sugars and brown sugar before it transitions into a mixture of slight citrus and the honey-sweet malts. Eventually the beer makes a slow march to harsh aspirin bitters that pepper the tongue in an almost cloying way, though the sweet it not quite too much. Light notes of citrus and pine are also present, but very light. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, as a barleywine should be, moving over the tongue nicely and leaving it sticky but dry while the sides of the mouth wet themselves to try and manage the hoppy bitters. Overall, I think I like the Flying Mouflan. It’s different, and nowhere near as sweet as I was expecting it to be, which I actually like. I would love to try a fresher bottle and see how the juicy hops play with it, but as it stands it was a nice sipper with beautiful notes of brown sugar, though nothing too special. The drawback to this beer was definitely the aspirin bitters that assault the tongue in the close and aftertaste. I’m newer to the barleywine style, so I’m not quite sure how to judge this one on style, but on its own I think it is a nice beer with a little bit of a bitters problem. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to pass up either.
I paired this beer with week old chocolate whiskey cake, which isn’t the best thing to pair it with, but it was all I had that I felt could stand up to the Flying Mouflan… The cake was a little dry, which surely took away from the experience, but overall the two flavors seem to have just canceled each other out, or muted each other, which surprised me a little… I’m slowly learning this pairing thing, but I did not expect the total cancel. Faint notes of chocolate and the aspirin bitters do peak through to suggest the two things you are eating, but overall they are muted. If I were to pair them again, I would look for a big chocolaty stout to pair the cake with, while I looked around for a big stinky cheese like Gorgonzola for the beer.