Serving as the next installment of Shmaltz’ fifteenth anniversary series, Genesis 15:15, this robust barleywine stands at 13.4% abv and has two distinct characteristics that immediately make it pop amidst the competition: firstly, it’s aged for over 8 months in Sazerac 6 Year Old Rye whiskey barrels, and secondly, juice from pomegranates, figs, dates, and grapes are added as allusions to prominent fruits referenced in the Torah.
It looks pretty intimidating out of the bottle, as well. Genesis 15:15 shimmers a bold mahogany which fails to provide any sort of glimpse into its inner workings, but without much delay the smell slowly creeped towards me. The nose is heavy on the barrel and rye whiskey. I was expecting a lot of sweet fruits due to the juice additions to this, but it’s actually somewhat bitter and I found I was getting more roast and rye spiciness than anything. It’s pretty malty all-around, with a bit of grape in the background. In the mouth, this beer definitely explores the ingredients more comprehensively, as each fruit is clearly present, with the pomegranate and grape leading the way while the figs and dates serve more as a way to flesh out the back-end. It’s interesting to note how the barrel was so present in the nose, but seems to fall away in the body, as the oak isn’t well-defined, but the rye whiskey is still noticeable. This creates an interesting split of flavors; the fruit juices impart a tart tanginess, while malts and whiskey cut this with a bitter spiciness.
I enjoyed how the barrel-aging impacted this beer, as it adds a nice rye kick without dominating the other aspects. I thought the fruit would’ve been the main focus of this beer, but the malts seem to have the lasting appeal in flavor as well as the strong alcohol presence. A thicker, chewier body also helps accentuate these details.
B+ / $13 per 22 oz. bottle / shmaltzbrewing.com