Frontaal “Rhodesian BA 2020 Vol. I” Japanese Whisky Barrel-Aged American Barleywine

Name: Rhodesian BA 2020 Vol. 1
Brewer: Brouwerij Frontaal (Netherlands)
Style: Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (Base Style: American Barleywine)
ABV: 11.3%
Review Year: 2021

Rhodesian BA 2020 Vol. 1 is an American Barleywine aged in Japanese whisky barrels brewed by Brouwerij Frontaal (Netherlands).


This beer is being evaluated as a Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (33B) with the American Barleywine (22C) as the base style in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). Since this beer was reviewed before 29 December 2021, the mentioned guidelines were used. The 2021 Beer Style Guidelines, which is the most current version, can now be found on the BJCP website.


Clear ruby brown; brown head with fair retention. This American Barleywine unleashed intense aromas of dried fruits (e.g., raisins, prunes, cherries) against a backdrop of caramel, orange marmalade, licorice, and moderately low alcohol. Medium-full-bodied, moderate carbonation; chewy mouthfeel with subtle astringency. Flavor profile melded strong and rich malty flavors with dried fruits. An equally-intense citrussy hop flavor surfaced together moderately low oaky/woody, coffee, and chocolate impressions. Perceived bitterness and sweetness were both at moderately high levels; alcohol was subtle. This beer finished with lingering notes of orange marmalade, resin, bitterness, oak/wood, subtle alcohol, and some malt character.


Rhodesian BA 2020 Vol. 1 is an excellent interpretation of a whisky barrel-aged American Barleywine. It is a complex and malt-forward sipping beer that highlights mainly rich malts, dried fruits, citrus hops, and wood. This barleywine also emphasized balanced bitterness and residual sweetness despite both perceived at fairly high levels.

Citrus hops and bitterness were present just enough to identify this as an American Barleywine and not English. The influence of the Japanese whisky was not distinct yet present; you would know whisky barrels were involved, but it would be difficult decipher what it really is. Enjoy on a long cold evening with trail mix.

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