A rare treat for The BeerFathers – a father and son in person review. No Skype, just two guys drinking some Italian beer together. Wait. Italian beer? Are you kidding me? Italian beer? How good can that be? Isn’t that wine country? Well, we’re here to tell you that Italian beer can be very, very good.
The actual name of the beer on the bottle is Panil Barriquee Oak Aged Sour Red Ale, which will be the last time we write that out completely. It’s brewed by Birrificio Torrechiara, which makes about 9 different beers with the name Panil attached to all of them. Our bottle is from 2005 and at $15.99 per bottle, it’s probably one of the most expensive beers you’ll buy that doesn’t have the word “Utopia” attached to it. For our 1 pint, 9.4 oz bottle you get a per ounce price of about 63 cents per ounce. Worth it? Yep.
Panil Barriquee is 8% ABV, triple fermented, matured in cognac barrels from Bordeaux and ours was bottled in 2005. We used a tulip glass for our review and got an initial beer temperature of 60 F. It’s worth noting that Panil Barriquee, though technically a beer, doesn’t drink like any beer you’ve ever had.
Our initial pour yielded no head whatsoever, just bubbles. This means there’s no rating for head appearance, color, lacing or duration. This brings up the bigger, more probing question – is it really a beer if it doesn’t have a head?
There is no carbonation in the body at all that we could find. The body itself is a hazy, translucent red with deep amber tones to it. For our aromas we picked up caramel, floral, earth (an earthy musky smell), alcohol, brown sugar, sour cherry, oak, plum, raisin, white wine and chardonnay. There’s loads of dark fruits in the smell and it smells suspiciously wine-like. Did they mislabel a bottle of wine as beer?
For our tastes we got brown sugar, sour cherry, oak, plum, raisin, white wine and chardonnay. Much like the smell there’s loads of dark fruits in the taste – sour cherry really jumping to the top of the pile. Again it reminds you of wine with the taste. The initial flavor notes are a moderate to heavy sweet and light sour. The finish flavor notes are a light sweet and moderate sour. Is it really a beer if it tastes like wine?
The finish length is short, the mouthfeel is dry and the tongue hit is in the front. The dry mouthfeel really works with this beer – it’s quite nice and the dryness is really reminiscent of a good dry red wine. Towards the bottom of bottle we got a lot of cloudiness and a darker color – more towards ruby brown than the earlier red amber tones we were getting.
There’s no body lacing as you drink it and it’s just impossible to rate on our patented malt to hop scale – it feels balanced but there’s really no malts and no hops to judge balance on. It’s so very totally different from a normal beer. Is it really a beer if it doesn’t have readily discernible malts and hops?
For our bottom line notes we got Yes to everything we rate – drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony, memorable, wow factor and buy again. Wow.
This is just an amazingly unbelievable beer that you’ve got to try. Get a big fistful of money to go buy it, nay, invest in it. Even at $16 a bottle you’ll be glad you did. It’s hard to believe it’s a beer, it’s absolutely remarkable and one of the most unique beer experiences you’ll ever have. Share it with a loved one who also enjoys good beer and you’ll have a great beer adventure together.
Panil Barriquee Rating: 8 out of 10 (?)
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