As with most pursuits in life, the more I’ve thrown myself into the world of beer, the more I’ve come to appreciate it. It wasn’t too long ago I was busy swilling Natural or Coors.
But as my tastes and palate have changed and matured, so has my appreciation for a variety of beers. I think I’ve hit that sweet spot with barleywines, which used to blow me away with their high ABV percentages, but now feel just right as a nice winter warmer. While I still love a heavily-hopped beer, the balance and malty sweetness of barleywines are great for offering a broad profile of aromas and flavors.
That’s one reason why I was excited to pop open a bottle of Troegs’ Flying Mouflan, a barleywine from the Pennsylvania-based brewery I acquired a few months ago in a trade with Scott from Beerbecue. I loved my initial exposure to Troegs with their Perpetual IPA, so I knew between that beer and the brewery’s reputation, I couldn’t go wrong.
Or could I? Let’s hit the jump and figure out how much my palate’s preference has changed over the years.
Here’s a spoiler alert. Flying Mouflan has a much deserved 93 on Beer Advocate. Why is it so good? Well, it starts with …
… the smell is glorious. Troegs uses some massive American hops to stand up to all the malt used in the brew, throwing in Warrior, Chinook and Simcoe(!) pellets while using more Simcoe(!!) and whole leaf Nugget hops for the HopBack process. That’s a lot of hops that adds up to 100 IBUs, but you’ll never know it thanks to the wonderful balance of everything else. On the first whiff, I could get a sense some near-citrus aroma of the hops, but they were pretty heavily muted by being pushed aside by the malt and wonderful sweet smells released with the help of cane sugar. Here’s a who’s who of characteristics my nostrils picked up:
- Brown sugar
To top it off, Flying Mouflan grew some tart cherry aroma as it warmed up toward room temperature.
As the hops strained to shine through just a bit in the smell, the flavor of the beer was all malt, accented, oddly enough, by more of that pineapple. Must be the cane sugar doing its work. Much like Belgian candi sugars impart a smooth sweetness, whatever cane sugar Troegs decided to use is a great addition that plays off caramel flavors from the beer’s dark crystal malt. All the while, Vienna and Munich malts offer sweet, strong biscuit notes that last throughout each sip. While this beer isn’t barrel aged, it did make my mind drift back to Terrapin’s Phlux Capacitor, which was a barrel-aged IPA. Obviously the hops were much more present in that beer, but Flying Mouflan had a similar oak flavor to me.
This is all on top of the fact that I never could tell that this beer had a 9.3 percent ABV. Maturation of the palate, and all that.
Flying Mouflan is one of the reasons I miss living in the Northeast, where I could find Troegs’ beers. I love the NC beer scene, but would love to get my hands on another bottle of this. I highly recommend it if Troegs distributes to your area, as this would be a perfect brew to sit down on a lazy weekend afternoon and slowly let the day waste away.
Flying Mouflan stats:
- Malt: Euro pils, Vienna, Munich and dark crystal
- Hops: Warrior, Chinook and Simcoe for brewing, Simcoe and Nugget for HopBack
- Adjuncts: Cane sugar
- ABV: 9.3 percent