asheft (2613) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 18, 2005
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Light maroon and hazy with a fine bubbly light beige head that forms a thin film and a ring of fine bubbles. Creamy bourbon aroma with raisin and banana...lots of bourbon with butterscotch notes. Salty hops up front quickly giving way to a smooth, caramely, bourbon that compliments a sweet raisin-spicy malt. The barrel aging really pacified the hops bitterness, working it in perfectly with the other flavours. Way smoother than the non-barrel aged Old Numbskull. Full body and light to medium carbonation. A little warming from the alcohol. Awesome.
PWalk (337) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 20, 2005
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Aroma is one of vanilla and bourbon both of which came out in the flavor along with some plum. Nice malt tone to it. Pleasant dry finish. Wonderful Beer.
muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - JAN 18, 2005
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
750 ml bottle, The Great Montreal Barley Wine Blowout with asheft, beerbuzzmontreal, MartinT, tiggmtl, Rastacouere and Yowie, #5. OK, hereís a case where the barrel really does make a difference. The regular ON is far too thin, overly bitter without supporting body...this has more head, seems thicker and deeper in the body just to look at, a good sign...oaky vanilla and whiskey dominate the nose, hops subdued...maltier and much fruitier (think fresh and dried plums, raisins, spiced apples), some lovely bourbon-vanilla, some heavy bitterness at the finish but this time there is enough sweetness and depth to support it. World class? Dunno, but itís ok by me. Thanks Alex for this rare treat!
jasonp (1556) - Ashburn, Virginia, USA - FEB 7, 2005
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Sampled at jeffc666ís gathering, brought by The_Beer_God. Clear amber with an off white head. I dug the aroma on this; caramel with sherry and wood/oak. Taste also has notes of caramel and oak plus some pipe tobacco, toasty malt, some light brown sugar, toffee, cherry and pineapple. Very full, round and smooth on the palate. Overall, just awesome. Did a side by side vs. regular Old Numbskull and this one had more to offer.
jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - FEB 6, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
(Bottle #30 thanks for sharing Mike, The_Beer_God) Clear ruby body with a small tan head. The aroma is loade with oak, light alcohol, caramel, toffee, faint vanilla, and cream sherry. The flavor is toasty oak, sweet toffee and caramel, light bitterness and alcohol. Dry thinnish mouthfeel. Slighlty better than the regular ON, but not one of my favorite barleywines.
BuckNaked (1230) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - FEB 6, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle sampled at jeffc666ís B-day gathering 2/6/05: Thanks to The_Beer_God again for this one. Hazy amber color, no head, small particles visable in my glass. It was fun to drink this side by side with the regular old numbskull. Overall I didnít like the barrel aged version any better, though it was different. The aroma has lots of wood, oak, toasted wood, alcohol, pear, apple, vanilla. Flavor is salty, with pronounced wood notes, alcohol, port, cherries, sweet syrupy malts, apple, honey, and finishes with a mild nasal alcohol burn. Quite dry and somewhat thin. Very good, but definitely has a bit inflated rating.
Ernest (6484) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - JAN 30, 2005
2.5 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
Bottle 212. Virtually no head. Body is hazy medium amber, bottle conditioned. Aroma is moderately malty (caramel/molasses), trace hops (resin), with a strong note of sherry, notes of alcohol and cask wood. Flavor is moderately sweet, lightly acidic. Finish is lightly sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Medium body, watery texture, soft carbonation, moderately alcoholic. One of the bigger disappointments in the top 50 Iíve experienced, but of course I usually hate oxidation and this is swimming with it. Oddly, fresh off-the-shelf versions of the non-barreled Numbskull and some other Alesmith brews (Wee Heavy, Anvil) have also been quite oxidized and dull, so it seems to be becoming a brewery trait. But apart from the oxidation, this was watery, rather thin and bland, and there just isnít much going on in the aroma. It was a drain pour for me, to be perfectly honest. Tastes like hype, with all due respect to the brewery.
Crosling (1863) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - JAN 30, 2005
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: FEB 15, 2005 Bottle # 212. Very aromatic and the wood influence is unmistakable showing hints of oak, vanilla and bourbon along with the malt, which shows a bit of caramel and burnt toffee. The excessive aromatic hops in the regular Old Numbskull has tamed to an almost undetectable level. In the flavor, the hops have again tamed and the wood is clearly evident. Notes of bourbon, oak, caramel and toffee with a touch of vanilla. The body and texture is lacking. This should have been aged in a wine barrel. A bourbon barrel was not the proper vessel for this beer.
Murphy (1759) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - JAN 30, 2005
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours with basically no head, a reddish, cloudy, rusty color. Big rich, sweet and bourbon aroma. Taste is a big bourbon and alcohol punch. Very smooth palate. Hoppy, but could use more hops. The alcohol is not at all hidden, and I think this takes away from the beer. Malt presence is there, but could come through a lot more. Still pretty good.
argo0 (11818) - Washington DC, USA - FEB 6, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
(Bottle 30, shared courtesy of The_Beer_God) Cloudy copper body, off-white head. Aroma is moderately sweet, vanilla/bourbon, oak, toffee. Taste is moderately sweet, toffee, oak, fairly light bourbon. Moderately full body. The bourbon barrel definitely works well with the Old Numbskull, and a side-by-side leaves me feeling BAON is better than ON. Somehow the taste shows more of the wood cask than the bourbon, definitely a positive. I will enjoy opening other bottles of this later.