DC Brau is jumping into the new year with a bold and boozy barleywine that will commemorate an "unpredictable series of beers" that will be brewery-only releases. Sleeping Standing Up is a barrel-aged English-style barleywine that has been aged for three months in barrels that held DC's One Eight Distilling's Rye Whisky. The beer will go on sale Saturday, January 6 and be available for sale in single or four-pack 16oz tallboy cans until supplies run out.

“We’ve been dabbling with barrel-aging for the last couple of years with one-offs and special events, but we’re stepping up the program big time in 2018," says co-founder and head brewmaster Jeff Hancock via press release. “Boozy & aromatic, SLEEPING STANDING UP boasts flavors of marmalade, candied orange, and dry fruit cake that excite the palate, liven the senses, and warm the soul. Perfect drinking for colder weather!”

Thanks to some samples from the brewery, I was also able to try this beer. There's no hiding the whisky in the nose, but it's hardly overpowering, and just enough of the spicy rye comes through to make me grateful it's rye- and not bourbon-aged. The palate smacks strongly (and predictably) of toffee, butterscotch, and just a touch of golden raisins. As it warms, more citrus comes through, but malt, not any kind of fruity esters, are the focus here. For a 10 percent beer, the finish is remarkably smooth, and there's hardly any alcohol warmth to mention until you're halfway through 16 ounces of this and the warmth is in your cheeks. I'm not a barleywine guy, by and large. I tend to stick with more refreshing styles, but as barleywines go, I enjoy this one, which I found to be dangerously easy-drinking. Fans of bigger beers will find a lot to like in this one, provided they can get their hands on a can. Thanks to DC Brau for sharing!

Now that I've shared my take, here's the brewery's: "An attractive off-white, tan head sits atop a malty, high octane beverage. Aroma's of light booze, toffee, un-ripe fig give way to a complex tapestry of malt flavors that are perfectly balanced by hop contributions of the Willamette variety. Flavors of marmalade, candied orange and dry fruit cake excite the palate, liven the senses and warm the soul. Enjoy this exclusive, brewery only release while it lasts."

Style:  Barrel-aged English-style Barleywine
ABV:  10%
IBU: 40
Malts: Canadian Pale 2-Row, Simpson's Crystal Medium, Weyermann Barke Munich I, Thomas Fawcett Roasted Barley
Hops: Willamette
Yeast: Scottish Ale


DC Brau becomes the latest local brewery to delve into the brewery-only and/or limited release market. 3 Stars, with its #ultrafresh and other DIPAs (as well as other styles) and Port City (with its rotating lager series) have also injected limited and exclusive releases to entice and entertain local beer fans. With the success of breweries flourishing with this model, here and afar, the move strikes me as prudent for engaging more diehard beer fans. Co-founders Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock, in their five year anniversary interview with DCBeer, noted that with the addition of a new, larger brewhouse, their original brewhouse would be available to create offerings like this. It's good to see it come to fruition.