Eclipse, Eclipse, Eclipse. That’s all anyone ever seems to say when FiftyFifty Brewing Company is mentioned. Sure its delicious, well awarded, damn expensive and some versions sell out before the beer is even in bottles. Variants abound trigger that deep seeded sense in our generation to collect them all. A kaleidoscope of colored wax topped bottles, sealing contents too precious for their own good, charm the eyes in a genius display of marketing.

Lets explore what the brewers at FiftyFifty can do outside of their crown jewel.

Founded in 2006 FiftyFifty Brewing Co is a family-owned brewery based in Truckee, Calif. near the beautiful Lake Tahoe.

FiftyFifty Old Conundrum bottle

Old Conundrum is the barleywine that hangs out in the shadowy corner of FiftyFifty’s repository of brews. Aged in bourbon barrels and sporting a hefty alcohol content of almost 10 percent Old Conundrum On Wood appears to have attributes that lie in the sweet spot for FiftyFifty’s brewing skills.

Served at 50 degrees fahrenheit, Old Conundrum On Wood pours opaque brown with an abundance of khaki colored head. Clearly, clarity was not a concern when this beer was brewed. The beer is dark enough though, that I don’t believe the haze detracts much from the appearance. Tons of vanilla and caramel on the whiff backed up with booze and more malty sweetness.

FiftyFifty Old Conundrum

A monstrously heavy weight on the tongue slides around slick as oil coating every rift of the palate. Bread crust like sweetness up front leading the way to some leathery tannins and charred oak bitterness that really help to balance things out in such a massive beer.

FiftyFifty Old Conundrum On Wood
BREWERY: FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Truckee, Calif.
STYLE: Barleywine
ABV: 9.8 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $16.95
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
The smell of Old Conundrum On Wood is fantastic and begs to be shoveled down the gullet. It misses in its cloudy appearance which is not a big deal for most people. I suggest drinking this a little colder than you would other barleywines as the tannic bitterness from the oak comes forward more with higher temps. Any sign of bourbon is missing and just a generic spent spirit barrel character is present.
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