Lakewood’s Thread Spinner Is A Legendary Winter Sipper.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Lakewood Brewing’s Thread Spinner.img_3768Fast Facts on Lakewood Brewing’s Thread Spinner.
Style: Barleywine.
ABV: 13.5 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 90.
Color: Deep, reddish amber.
Availability: Limited, in large-format bottles and draft.

Lakewood Brewing has released the first of its three beers in a smaller series-within-a-series. This mini-series lives in the confines of its legendary series, and each of the three will be wood aged beers. Honestly, I can’t really keep track with what beer goes in what series with LBC, but I’m not going to knock it for putting some creativity in the stories around its offerings. I’ll let Lakewood tell you the story about the name, and I’ll focus more on the beer here. Lakewood offers a large array of different styles, and it is not shy about brewing some higher-ABV beers. Also, Lakewood Brewing focuses a few of its offerings on barrel aging, and this is the case here with Thread Spinner. If you’re a fan of Witherspoon Distillery, you’re in luck — LBC uses freshly emptied whiskey barrels for aging this beer. Boom!

Background on Barleywine.
Bring your helmet, because it’s Barleywine time! If you’d like a primer on the Barleywine style, check out our review of Peticolas Brewing’s The Duke. This is a big flavor, big alcohol style that’s mean to be enjoyed slowly. The color of a barleywine can range from gold to very dark amber, so this style gets a lot of latitude on the looks. Hop aroma can be subtle or even assertive, but it shouldn’t be the star of the show. In the American slant on the Barleywine style, the assertive alcohol and large amount of bitterness are known to leave a long, lingering aftertaste. Oftentimes, you’ll notice some marmalade or earthy sort of aromas from the hops. Likewise, other Barleywines – especially those American variations – can focus on New World varieties that play a more assertive role, in both aroma and bittering. Rich warm caramel and dried fruit shine through in the nose. The flavor should echo much of the aroma. This is known to be a wintertime sipper, so it’s not at all your pool-side bro-chugger sort of ale. The mouthfeel should be velvety or chewy, as this is no doubt a large beer. Depending on how the beer is conditioned, the carbonation may be low to moderate.

Thread Spinner pours a deep, reddish amber color. There is a small amount of off-white head that sticks around, then dissipates in to a gentle ring around the glass. I mentioned that this was a big beer, and this fact is further evident in how Lakewood Growler serves it. This is a 9-ounce pour here. If you think about this serving size compared to something like wine, this is almost a double-serving — of a higher-alcohol beverage. Gotta take my time here with this oneimg_3761

This beer smells fantastic. There is a dark, dried fruit sort of aroma here. The hops are evident, but they are somewhat subdued in the aroma for its stated 90 IBU. But hey, we’ll get to the bitterness later! The alcohol is evident in the nose, but it doesn’t clobber me over the head. Another major aroma I sense is deep caramel-y malty goodness.

On my first sip, Thread Spinner floods my mouth with its deep, intense caramel flavor and aggressive hop bitterness. There is no doubt a large amount of bitterness in this Barleywine to help balance out the intense sweetness and alcohol notes. The intense bitterness and sweetness hang around forever, and not in a bad way.

This is a big-bodied ale, and the mouthfeel follows suit. There is a moderate amount of residual sugar in this beer, and it finds a fine balance with the warmth of the alcohol.

Overall Impression.
Thread Spinner is no starter beer. If you’re looking for a delicious wintertime sipper, however, you should give one a try. This isn’t a style that you want to sit around sipping all night, and I cannot imagine drinking one of its large format, 22-ounce bottles by myself. This is absolutely a “share beer,” meant for opening and pouring a bunch of smaller glasses with your friends. My tongue is slowly going more numb from the intensity of the alcohol here, and I dig it. My advice is that if you purchase a bottle of Thread Spinner this season, let it sit. This beer will mellow out a bit with time, making for a rounder flavor profile. I appreciate the intense hop bitterness, and I can imagine that there are some beer drinkers who might prefer to let this hop intensity mellow for a year or two. All in all, this is an interesting beer that is an enjoyable experience.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Lakewood Brewing Thread Spinner an 8.img_3757

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
 Thursday, December 1. Brew-Haha Comedy Series/Toys for Tots Benefit at Community Beer Co.
• Saturday, December 3. One-Year Anniversary at Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.
• Friday, December 9. Second Anniversary at Panther Island Brewing.
• Saturday, December 10. Three-Year Anniversary at Rabbit Hole Brewing.
• Saturday, December 17. Third Anniversary at Cobra Brewing Co.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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