nickd717 (3780) - San Francisco, California, USA - AUG 15, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Thanks to largadeer for this great tick. Cloudy dark brown in color with reddish hues and a small light beige head. Fruity aroma with dark berries, caramel, and a little tartness evident. Good flavor with sweet caramel, oak, bourbon, prune, fig, and good tartness. Medium-full bodied with lower carbonation. Pretty good overall, but not much better than the non-bal aged version.
jethrodium (366) - Berkeley, California, USA - JUL 30, 2011
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
750 ml bottle courtesy of dmsohyea. Thanks Ian. Sampled side-by-side with the regular version. Pours a translucent dark brown with a small light tan head that has goon retention and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass. The first whiff is huge bourbon with some vanilla and oak. Underneath this lies a lot of the flavors present in the base beer. Raisin and plum with some brown sugar. A bit of cherry and light alcohol as well. A little bit of tartness is evident from the smell. The aroma is pretty amazing. The initial taste is relatively sweet with some brown sugar. Then comes the big bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Hints of plum and cherry as well. The finish has a decent tartness to it. No real alcohol present in the taste, which is quite surprising considering how prominent the bourbon is. Medium body. Low to Medium carbonation. A unique and amazingly delicious beer. The -bals really did wonders here, taking an average barley wine and turning it into a world class beer. The sweetness of the base beer is balanced out here, and the tartness somehow works wonderfully.
pastradul (43) - California, USA - JUL 10, 2011
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
on tap at release.
was looing forward to this brew since i had the regular recently and I liked where the brew has gone.
first smell is sour lactic followed by some deep vanilla bourbon.
the taste is great. up front is a quick cherry kick on the tongue then follwed by a dry mid palate that has a nice malt profile... the bourbon and wood take over in the back of the palate and finish very dry...
I think this is one damn unique brew and look forward to seeing where it goes from here.
Ibrew2or3 (7661) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - JUL 9, 2011
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Got this at the release and cracked the bottle with the amazing Tampa area beer geeks. It pours deep ruby copper impressive mocha head. The aroma is soured citrus, some tart notes, spicy oak notes, more soured citrus that is being slowly sweetened by maltiness, smooth sweet bourbon and sweet vanilla. Wow, I also get more citrus off at the end of the draw. The taste is rich sweet citrus hops mixing with some tarter soured citrus notes and then moving into tasty vanilla, smooth molasses, sweet bourbon and smooth spicy oak notes. This is rich and balanced and the smooth vanilla and smooth sweet bourbon work perfectly here to play against the hop notes. Wow!
StefanSD (2218) - Lakeside, California, USA - JUL 7, 2011
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
750 ml bottle. #231/433. Pours a hazy chestnut brown color with a small beige head that soon fades to a fine ring. The aroma is strong and funky with wild yeast dominating; also present in the nose--whiskey, sherry and cooked vegetables. The taste is overtly sour and that seems to work well with the whiskey barrel aging. The palate is a bit thin and acetic with soft carbonation. Finished medium in duration with lingering barley wine notes. Overall: Interesting is a good word for this brew.
brokensail (14033) - San Leandro, California, USA - JUL 1, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
A: The beer pours a dark amber/mahogany color with a finger or so of khaki head.
S: Not surprisingly for an Alesmith barrel aged beer, the nose is full of bourbon. Lots of vanilla, oak, and maple syrup, too. There’s a bit of leather and a nice tart cherry note. Plenty of sweet caramel and brown sugar as well.
T: The flavor is much the same. Huge bourbon and vanilla flavors to this one with some oak and more bourbon. A touch of chocolate covered cherry and a subtle tartness on the finish.
M: Medium in body with a medium carbonation.
O: I had my doubts about this beer, but they were put to rest. Really a good beer.
markwise (4898) - North of Tampa, Florida, USA - JUN 29, 2011
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Big thanks to IBrew2or3 for the share. Pours hazy brown-orange with a slight off-white head. Nose is vanilla, caramel, toffee, slight tartness, some cherry, a hint of brandy, and depth. Flavor is similar- lots of malt, followed by cherries, some small tartness, some booze, vanilla, brandy, and just a great time. The tartness is still present in a small amount, but it is not intrusive- it is mildly amused, like a question in the back of your mind that you just can’t answer, but it persists and continues to inquire. This is an enigma- one I would like to continue pondering. Very nice, very enjoyable, an almost philosophical beer.
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 19, 2011
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
I was drinking this non-stop from the tap at the release...unfortunately the bottled version is not nearly as good as the tap. The bottled stuff is a hell of a lot more acidic, to the point of being a bit cloying...the bourbon flavors are nice but that tartness is a shit ton stronger in the bottle. Good loads of bourbon in the nose..flavors have tobacco and earthy bourbon, a fair amount of sticky sweetness, but that sharp sour edge that really didn’t seem to distract me in the tap version is unfortunately quite distracting here.
cbkschubert (2900) - BFE, Arizona, USA - JUN 18, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap @ Alesmith - Figured I’d rate the sample I had at the brewery and save the bottle for a tasting. I didn’t have high hopes for this since I wasn’t wild about the regular version. I was hoping the barrel aging would mask some of the tartness. Nope. Tastes and smells the same with the addition of some oak/bourbon. To be honest, this beer is all over the place. I hope my rating of this beer is a tenth or two higher than the regular version. Hell, the time in barrel is worth a couple tenths. I will have to do a proper rating when I drink the bottle.
Hophead22 (2879) - Redlands, by way of Wisconsin,, California, USA - JUN 18, 2011
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Samples at the brewery. Rating #8. Dark muddy brown pour. Fantastic aroma, sweet toffee and rich dried fruits. Flavor wasn’t to my liking, tart cherries and a mishmash of colliding flavor that didn’t do it for me, still pretty interesting. (1765)