Archibaldo de la Cruz (1121) - FINLAND - APR 12, 2010
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle at HBF 2010, vintage 2007. Dark amber colour with no head. Malt, alcohol and caramel. Flavour is very sweet, caramel, malty and fruity with hints of apples, plum and alcohol. Syrupy and full-bodied.
TBone (13123) - Pori, FINLAND - APR 10, 2010
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottled HBF vintage 2007 4cl
Copper-amber color, no head. Toffeish, grappa-like alcoholic nose. Liquerish palate. Sweet flavor, toffee, brandy, vanilla. Very rounded mouthfeel. Less alcoholic and madeira-like than silver-version.
Damico (2721) - Royersford, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 25, 2010
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
The appearance is thick, auburn like brandy. There is no head amd it is very low in carbonation. It is thick and syrupy, with sweet notes like fig. The boozy flavor is smooth, which is a tough thing to do. The smell is like the flavor, thick and sweet. Not like any barleywine I have ever tasted.
Gypsy19 (726) - California, USA - MAR 7, 2010
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
500ml. 2006 vintage. 13%. Pours a darker orange which can look more amber or ruby in different lighting. Flat of course; I wasn’t expecting any carbonation after having the Silver and Copper labels recently. I like the aroma on this one the best; when I pulled the cork out, a pleasant banana aroma filled the immediate vicinity. Now in the snifter I’m getting some nice caramel/toffee, molasses, honey, sweet malt, a little alcohol but not "boozy" per se. Yum, the flavor in this one is easily the best of the series: Quite fruity with again the sweet glaze/syrupy flavors. Kind of like a brandy, kind of like a port. Definitely a fermented winegrape element is present in the flavor. It’s very sweet, but manages to stay just under the cloying threshold. Mouthfeel is oily, medium viscosity, sticky finish; again, just like a port. I definitely like this one the best out of the series. I think this is mostly because this one helped me understand and appreciate what this series is supposed to be (and be about). I mean this is literally a "barley wine". That is, this is wine, not beer. Wine that happens to be fermented from grain instead of grapes. When I look at it in the context of wine, and through a filter of Italiana, I can really start appreciating this and liking it a lot. But yes, in that context; not in the traditional beer context would I easily understand this opus. Overall, very good to excellent.
andersand (529) - Malmö, SWEDEN - MAR 4, 2010
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark brown with no head but a few weak legs. Aroma is extremely caramelized, sherry like with raisins, dried fruit and light acetone alongside some murky and powdery cocoa with light wet basement notes. Flavor delivers what the aroma promises with very sweet, slightly muted caramellized fruit notes. The finish is sweet and warming and thats the only sign of the ABV. Body is flat and slightly sticky. Nice.
ricke (476) - Malme, SWEDEN - JAN 11, 2010
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Gold version. Vintage 2005. Serving date 2009-02-14.
500 ml sturdy bottle. Comes with a small leaflet with some short notes of which I can only understand fragments. Sealed with a regular wine cork. I couldn’t find any freshness date on the bottle.
The cork comes off with a minimal pop, indicating low levels of carbonation. The cork really smells more of wine than beer. When poured, the beer has a very nice, glowing amber color with red hues, and is a bit hazy as a result of big amounts of very small, almost microscopic, floaties. The first pour results in a minimal amount of bubbles on top of the liquid, around the edges of the glass. However, this is no head, not even foam-like. Rather, it’s the kind of bubbles you sometimes get from pouring fruit juice or some wines. The second pour creates no bubbles at all. Actually, I didn’t get the beer to produce any bubbles, no matter how hard I swirled my glass. However, when it’s swirled it clings onto the glass like a cognac or a wine - a great visual quality.
An intense smell of sweet fruits, raisins, and caramel hits the noose, accompanied by a sharp alcoholic twang. Notes of wood (perhaps oak) are there as well. The smell of this one is really heavy, dense and sweet. It’s actually more reminiscent of a strong dessert wine, like sherry or port, than beer.
Lots of sweetness in the mouth: Fruits, mostly overripe plums, raisins, molasses and perhaps some brown sugar and honey-like sweetness as well. There’s is also a flavor I have a hard time identifying; the best I can do is describing it as a general candy-like flavor. These massive sweet flavors are balanced by some spices, oak and a more nutty earth flavor. The alcohol is rather prominent and provides a pleasant warmth. In the finish there’s more sweet fruits and raisins, but also a gentle but distinct bitterness. Hot alcohol finishes things off. All in all, this one is very reminiscent of a sherry or a port, with big and bold strong vinous flavors, but there is still something about it that is characteristically beer-like.
It has basically no carbonation, and thus it’s really smooth. Medium body, very viscous and slightly chewy.
This one really pushes the boundaries for beer, and for what beer can be, almost transcending them occupying parts of the realm previously solely reserved for strong and sweet fortified wines. And I would say it could go head to head with any high quality dessert wine - and come out on top - when it comes to food pairings most often associated with sherry, port wines or Madeira - or as an aperitif for that matter. Although, I constantly compare this with wine and use wine as a measure to describe it, I must say it’s still a beer with some characteristics you probably wouldn’t find in a wine. But considering how far away this is from your average ale, or barleywine for that matter, I don’t think I can see my self being in the mood for this one that often. I guess it’s for that "special occasion" or when you’re in the mood for something out of the ordinary, and in small amounts (I tried about 2/3 of a bottle and that was a bit much I think)
Serving type: bottle
(Copy of old Beer Advocate review)
daniele (5893) - ITALY - JAN 10, 2010
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
ambrata piatta naso alcolico ossidato caramello un tocco fruttatoo intensa bell corpo liquoroso non molto amara
BuckeyeBoy (2897) - Boise, Idaho, USA - JAN 2, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sam threw down all three crazy Thanks a ton. Pours out a copper with no head. Aroma was very nice lots of sweetness. Taste sweet caramel, fruit, and syrup. Very thick and smooth.
yespr (33024) - Copenhagen O, DENMARK - SEP 22, 2009
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
37.5 cL bottle, gold. Pours hazy orange with a diminished off-white head. Dense, roasted and spiced aroma. Sweet, dense oxidised malty and roasted. Distinct solid hoppy and oxidised flavoured. Sweet and sticky caramelish flavoured. Dense and syrupy. Solid sweet caramelish base flavoured. Lovely but clearly demanding!
ditmier (1508) - Boise, Idaho, USA - SEP 18, 2009
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2006 Bottle - Thanks Sam - 3rd bottle in the vertical, pours dk orange, clear and still, with no head...aroma is similarly dry fruit, intense caramel and slight tannin...flavour is rich and sweet, more sweet than the other bottles, sharing the underlying tastes of thick malty fruit and sherry...again, if you didn’t know it was beer, you’d never guess...