superspak (2537) - Michigan, USA - JAN 24, 2014
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; batch 1, bottled in 2005. Pours moderately hazy/cloudy dark ruby red color with a minimal wisp of a head that reduces to nothing. Aromas of big raisin, prune, fig, plum, apple, pear, molasses, toffee, caramel, toast, brown bread, oak, light chocolate, vanilla, light clove, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with big complexity and great balance of malt, oak, and yeast ester notes; with big strength. Taste of huge raisin, fig, plum, prune, apple, pear, molasses, brown sugar, brown bread, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, light clove, toast, chocolate, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of raisin, prune, plum, fig, pear, apple, molasses, brown sugar, brown bread, caramel, toffee, chocolate, toast, oak, vanilla, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of big dense malt, fruity yeast, and oak flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and moderately syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome English barleywine. Big complexity and great balance of malt, yeast ester, and oak flavors; and quite smooth sip on slowly with no booziness. A highly enjoyable offering.
JPDurden24 (1563) - Chandler, Arizona, USA - JAN 19, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap, hazy orange/brown pour with off white head. Aroma is caramel, toffee, brown sugar and some alcohol. Not overly sweet in the flavor with some oak. Pretty damn tasty.
Fritz123 (963) - Boca Raton, Florida, USA - JAN 1, 2014
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle from Denver, CO. 12oz pour into my snifter at home. Head was gone in 20 seconds. Deep amber to cloudy brown pour. Aroma is overwhelmingly oak, caramel, booze and yeasts. The taste is kind of in that same order...the oak notes are off the charts and then you get the nearly cloying sweetness of the caramel malts. You get the booze on the finish with a kind of dry, sweet, tongue-numbness. Also buttery texture. I like the oak and the caramel, although a higher rating would have been given if it wasnít so sweet.
DCLawyer (1411) - Falls Church, Virginia, USA - DEC 30, 2013
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle->snifter. Dark gold with dare offwhite head. Dark fruit, wood, toast, booze. Sweet and hot. Too much so.
subsonic (82) - Pataskala, Ohio, USA - DEC 27, 2013
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
"Dark golden yellow, amber with small off white foam, sticking to glass. Smells sweet also malty. Very rich explosion of flavors. There is sugar, but also wood and earth. Somewhat bitter aftertaste. Oh oh the alcohol.
OldMrCrow (1807) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 22, 2013
3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
2006 bottle Dercember 2013.
The great cellar purge continues. This is one I bought back in 2006 when everyone on the site was talking it up (I suppose because oak chips were still a novelty back then). People complained that it was too hot, so I set aside for a while, and before I got around to drinking it I got so tired of bad, boozy Avery ales that I shoved it into the back corner and tried to forget about it. So needless to say I came to this with relatively low expectations. (Enormous surprise to me: ratings of this one have increased monotonically over the years: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/statistics/48268/ . I would have predicted exactly the opposite. A growing tolerance for ultra high-boost ales?)
On to the beer. Pours a nearly flat (as expected) cranberry juice red into a tulip. Massive nose of lighter fluid poured over oak chips; I gag a bit after inhaling too vigorously. Candied pineapple. Raisins. Rubbing alcohol on q-tips jabbed into the nasal passages. The flavor, while a huge diabeetus bomb, is actually much better than expected given the offensive aroma. Swedish glŲgg, raisin, sugar cubes dipped in brandy, fake maple syrup, alcohol. Aged hops are quite far in the background though they do contribute some orange citrus. Mouthfeel is tongue-scorching hot even at 7 years of age, thick, heavy, a desert wine. This beer dreams about being Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale when it grows up, but that ainít ever gonna happen. I note that, to my great credit, I did actually empty this bottle without help from the drain in my kitchen sink.
From the red foil cap to the the silver on black label, from the dark angel copy to the the overwhelming sugar, from the blast of oak to the burning oily stickiness on the tongue to the 14.5 ABV (as listed on the bottle) this beer is a pure attention whore.
harrymel (1496) - Spokane, Washington, USA - DEC 17, 2013
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Batch 7, 740 cases.
Pours a nice spiced rum color with a fleeting finger of light caramel foam. Has good color. Nose is warm (alcohol warm) and mixes with caramel, some vanilla, alcohol and bits of nougat. The combination is oddly reminiscent of a dubbel for me (but on íroids)
The flavor is robustly alcoholic up front and sweet on the finish. I much like this. I would guess with a few years, this beer would be outstanding. There is a certain sharpness to it at this time that is a bit detrimental. A good, solid sweet caramel and woody flavor. I donít think this is particularly oxidized, but it tastes slightly so (in a good way). The body is medium with low, smooth carb and a slick finish. the mouthfeel is really spot on for me.
Serving type: bottle
queenholly (2890) - South Whitley, Indiana, USA - DEC 3, 2013
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Oaky brandy, vanilla, dark fruit, and black bread aroma. Hazy chestnut with a minimal head. Sticky sweet cherry, black bread, oak, and boozy flavor. Full sticky body, soft- almost flat carbonation.
Bill Becker (245) - Casper, Wyoming, USA - DEC 1, 2013
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
$9.99 for the 12 oz bottle bought at Star Liquor in Sheridan WY. May 2013 batch 9, 632 cases? Cool addition t the info on the label.
A deep golden brew with almost a one finger head of foam, nice lacing, I do see some floaties.
Caramel malt heavily soaked in booze is what I get from the smell. Iím almost getting tipsy from just taking some whiffs.
Beautiful flavour of caramel malt, one of the best Iíve had, and when the big woody notes move in, surprisingly to me, I think it enhances the flavour. Yes indeed..it is hot as heck, hotter than even the abv implies, but slow sips pay off, like what I experience with Sam Adams Utopias.
On the high end of medium bodied, low level of carbonation, this is going to take me some time to finish but when I do, Iíll be satisfied, Iím sure. Nice.
shrubber85 (7515) - Greenville, Indiana, USA - NOV 29, 2013
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Oak, fruitcake and brandy aroma. Cloudy brown with minimal head. Sweet cherry, raisin, and rye bread flavor. Light alcohol finish. Very tasty.