BDR (2534) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - APR 5, 2010
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft @ Winterfest and @ Barley Johns. Minuscule head on this dark brown pour. Smooth but with a warming heat; flavors of dark pitted fruits and brown sugar. Caramel malts and some chocolate on the aroma. Hot damn
tyler_mn (1475) - SLP, Minnesota, USA - FEB 5, 2010
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Draft Winterfest. A perfectly attenuated domestic Barley Wine. I have a touch time enjoying BW’s these days. They tend to be too sweet, too hoppy, too malty... Just really out of balance. Rosies solves this problem. Little to no apparent carbonation in a ruby/amber pour. Aroma is clean, malted barley, very mild citrus and earthy hops. Toasty caramel and light creme brulee. Flavor is toward the dry side (but not overly so). Very crisp, snappy and clean, especially for how big of a beer this is. Alcohol doesn’t show until the finish where it gently warms the throat. Well done Colin!
detroiter (958) - Euphoria, Minnesota, USA - JAN 15, 2007
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a somewhat opaque brown with hints of orange color. Very little head, no lace clings to the glass. Smell is sweet, but not overpowering. No trace of hops in the aroma.
Taste is very sweet. I detect plum, sugar, raisin, molasses, and honey flavors. Absolutely no bitterness in the flavor, but the taste is not cloying by any means. There is a warming, brandy flavor in the aftertaste (I’m not a brandy expert, sorry I can’t describe the flavor better). The body, character, complexity, mouthfeel, and level of sweetness reminded me of a port wine
jazz88 (2528) - San Francisco, California, USA - MAY 14, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Tap @ Brewery in March 2005 when I was back in Minnesota. I had the Barrel Aged version of this last Christmas, so I was anxious to try the standard version. It did not disapoint. A hazy ruby color with a laced diminished light brown head. Cherry aroma, wood, alcohol (slightly burning), dry, and fully coating.
Pigfoot (2268) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - APR 13, 2004
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
I had a couple beers before this one, during dinner at the pub, for I wasn't going to just leap into the strongest friggin' beer in the world, and the waitress wasn't helping any, with all the little sample snits, unbidden and utterly appreciated.
Then, she finally arrived with these tiny snifter glasses, filled with a dark magneta brew, nearly opaque, but for the sliver of bright crimson at the sides. Only a slim, tight tan cap on this pour, and when I noted that my friend's serving had a larger head, just saying is all, she said, "oh, that was to get more in the glass for you!"
Aroma is flush with dark fruits, cherry, dates, prunes, backed with a distinctive whiskeyish character, like a mellow cognac with an extra spicy kick. I wished I'd asked for a larger glass, to see if the aroma might come out more, from a wider opening, but, alas. Not a very forward smell, either, rather cool and approachable.
Taste: a lush charge on the palate at first, velvety smooth, warm, toasty, the senses immediately sink into the effects of a certain sublimity. Something very good is happening on the tongue, and it's complexity takes time to unwind and work it's magic. Hops make a distinct impression on the taste, but there's hardly any bitterness, flavor is bright, fruity, and rings the palate happily. A medicinal feel comes forward in the taste, but an altogether pleasant one, like cherry cough syrup, but better tasting. Malt is thick here, as you'd guess, but doesn't insinuate itself too much in the profile, either.
The more Rosie's Ale gets at home in my mouth, the more it strikes me as a thoroughly amazing creation. Somehow, they've concocted a barleywine that has a rich cognac,/port/madeira character and a freakishly huge alcohol content, but it's put together so well that it's remarkably easy to put past the lips, and the body is supple and sweet, but never too much so. You know you've got an alcoholic beverage in you, and it slowly slinks into the system, but it never stings you, never knocks you about, as I remember other high ABV brews doing.
I had a pitcher of water brought out to keep me hydrated through this expedition, and when the waitress heard me request it, she nearly choked, thinking I'd asked for a pitcher of Rosie's! No, this tiny, 5 or 6 ounce snifter was enough ($7.25 per!), but it was so good, I'll be back for more. They ought to bottle this stuff and give Remy Martin a run for his money.
"It's what the blood of Christ would taste like," spouted my cheeky, blaspheming dinner partner. I had to quote him on that one. It was divine, and I'm anticipating how this tastes next year. Yep, the brewer, who named the brew after his daughter, is keeping a batch in an oak barrell for a year!
Amazing, that a tiny little box off the freeway in New Brighton is crafting such gigantic beer!
Syd (920) - Waconia, Minnesota, USA - MAR 27, 2004
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Small snifter arrives a hazy red brown color, with a decent head and lace sheets. The aroma is of raisins and other dark sweetness. The flavor is of raisins, sweetness, caramel, sweet sherry, port, some yeast, and some - but not too much - alcohol. The palate is rich, sticky as it warms, yet still has enough carbonation to keep it from being syrup. Yes, it is quite warming and heady (glad Wife is driving). Amazing stuff!
beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - MAR 20, 2004
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Triple fermented? 28% ABV? Whoa and wow! A nice little sipper we have here...Everything about this beer is everchanging!
Color starts out a dark coffee brown with this beautifully soft rosey caramel glow within the heart of the snifter. Capped with a soft, firm, cream colored froth just over a 1/4 inch high which fades slow to keep a nice collar around the edge and intricately placed spots and random looking sprayed lace sticks well. As mentioned, the color changes as we go into it sip after sip, the dark brown color it starts with turns to a soild golden caramel brown as it gets closer to be finished.
Aroma is all warming and soft with a great reach of oaky sweetness and scotch/whisky-like alcoholic warmth at first. But it changes again and again as we go. Swirling brings out an incredibly deep, dark, old, oak barrel character, as if you were right inside the barrel. As it warms more of the maltier things with dark fruits begin wafting with dry figs, nectarine, tangerine, and smokey cherry. Closer to finished its more like the barleywine that it is with some solid toffee and caramel with little twinges of alcoholic warmth.
Taste is more of this everchanging character from one warm thing to the next. Oaky sweet, dulled dark fruits, semi-juicy, favorably chewy and thick in the malts where tangy toffee, caramel, cherry, rum soaked figs and raisins all meld together over the top of a pleasant warming from sip to sip. Slight citric pineyness for bittering notes. Smooth and velvety slick, nice depth and length, with an alcohol burn and spice sticking late right in the back of the throat were most any high ABV brews will do. It sits there and relaxes all through your senses. Quite a treat and quite a sipper.
It continuely changes all the time, quite remarkable really. It starts out like a big boozy strong/old ale but developes into a barleywine as you go. The drinkability is actually very smooth and easy with a weighty malt laden girth and just the right kick of alcohol which comes and goes and is masked well. Which makes me question whether or not it's truly 28%. And from what I've been told the owner doesn't know for sure and doesn't want to know, but I'm sure the folks at Guiness World records would come out for free to see if it is in fact the highest ABV beer in the world.
Thoroughly enjoyable either/or and will be quite a treat once it ages more in the saved batch.
MNBrew (2) - Mounds View, Minnesota, USA - MAR 17, 2004 does not count
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JUL 22, 2004 Although I've had several of Ratebeer's top 50, this is my very first rating. The strongest beer in the world in my hometown, how could I resist! My first impression upon receiving the tiny snifter was that it was the wrong glassware to serve it in. However, seeing how this beer is more alcoholic than some liquers, it seems reasonable. It's definately cloudy, very brown with a rosie hue at the edges where the light can penetrate. It must have taken the bartender a step or two longer to get to my table, because the head was completely gone by the time I received it. The aroma was alcoholic (duh), but was not so overpowering that I couldn't register hints of cherry and raisin. The flavor was very balanced, with the honey, candi sugar, and wild rice being noticible but not off-putting. Raisins was the flavor I perceived most strongly. Sweet, but not overly sweet, there was no detectable hop flavor (or aroma for that matter). The mouthfeel would be thin but for the millions of microscopic bubbles that fill up the mouth. There's no way I could (or would want to) hold a 56 proof liquer in my mouth for that duration, which is testament to the mouthfeel/flavor combination of this delicacy. BTW, with the amount of adjuncts this beer contains, Barley Wine may not be the best clssification. It resembles more of a Belgian Strong Ale, but I'm thinking a beer this unique really defies classification. I've enjoyed a few other beers more than this, but not many.
EDIT: I talked to John last night, and he's had the beer labratory tested to 22.5% ABV
Nexxus (261) - Apple Valley, Minnesota, USA - MAR 9, 2004
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: MAY 19, 2004 Served in a small snifter. A cloudy medium amber/brown with a medium diminishing beige head. Very sweet aroma filled with alcohol, fig, toffee and plum. At first the aroma was heavily astringent and was overpowering with alcohol, but it quickly subsided. Thick creamy body with soft carbonation. Sweet without being cloying and lots of alcohol warmth. Very buttery, slightly vinous flavor filled with fig, plum, honey, and caramel with hints of red apple, apricot and resinous pine. The candi sugar is very apparent. My first impression was that it was overrated by the other sources I had read. On second thought, it is only slightly overrated. It is not as good overall as DFH WWS, but at the same time it is much better in a different way. It is more subtle and buttery, which I like. It didn't seem to be as heavy as WWS, even though it is. It seems to be much more like a liqueur - like drambuie - than a beer. Excellent!