Royal Reserve Collection: Hand Of The Queen is an English-style Barleywine brewed by Brewery Ommegang, and for the purposes of this craft beer review, the ale was served in a snifter from a bottle.
The Barleywine pours a clear chestnut brown that shows ruby highlights at the edges of the glass. It’s topped by a thick cap of dense cream-colored foam that shows excellent retention. Following the reduction, a fine soapy collar rounds the glass and a smattering of residue clings to the sides.
The aroma has a fragrant scent that’s sweet with toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit, and biscuit.
Biscuit and brown bread lead the palate to sweet notes of figs, dates, and raisin blended with caramel and toffee. A firm hopping lends a contrasting bitterness that’s floral and earthy. Flushed with booze, the mild bitterness carries through the finish, balanced by sweet notes of molasses and apricot.
Its feel is creamy smooth with a chewy, full body. Its carbonation is a shade over moderate and is a touch prickly on the backend. Dry throughout and finishes with a strong warming sensation.
If anything were amiss, the carbonation of its luscious feel is a touch sharp and its boozy warmth is a bit harsh. Otherwise, its appearance—while on the dark end of the style—looks great in the glass. The aroma is strong and enticing. And it tastes absolutely amazing. Coming from Ommegang, it’s not surprising that this brew seems like a hybrid between Belgian and English ales. And so perhaps this may not be a true English Barleywine of the Old World, but this is a good beer in which to set aside your judge’s hat and just enjoy. This Game Of Thrones inspired Hand Of The Queen is a fantastic brew. And you don’t have to be Westerosi royalty to buy this one. It’s priced low enough for even us paupers to enjoy.