TheBeerLover (1019) - DC Metro Area, USA - JAN 25, 2006
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: JAN 28, 2006 The Big Time Brewery and Ale House located in the U-District of Seattle, WA is one outstanding brewpub/brewery. They do a very special thing every December 1st. They release their Old Wooly Barleywine. Old Wooly isn’t a "hard to find" beer, it is actually easy to find, it is sold in only ONE place; Big Time. So if you want this beer, you’ll have to come to Seattle. Or, you could be extremely lucky and have someone go to the brewpub, and pick up some of the *small* amount of the 7 oz bottled nips of Old Wooly, that is released. I was "in the right place at the right time" on December 4th, 1999, as I was in Seattle, I went to Big Time, and was drinking snifters of this phenomenal barleywine.
This was a mind blowing beer experience, never in my life have I seen a barleywine at a brewpub, so celebrated. You have to experience it to belive it. Everyone who was there that day, was there for one reason; Old Wooly. As stated, the kegs are tapped on December 1st of each year, that year the nip bottles of Old Wooly sold out by December 7th, the kegs at the brewpub ran dry on December 9th. Old Wooly Barleywine is a rare and special beast indeed. I was smart enough to purchase a few nips to take home, but regret not getting more, they only allow you a case of 12 7 oz nips per customer, and no more. Last December 4th, was exactly six years since I sat at the bar and sipped and savored this glorious barleywine. That day, my stock of Old Wooly 1999, like the Wooly Mamouth went extinct. A sad day for this beer lover, but what memories!
Old Wooly Barleywine 1999, pours to a beautiful, bright, deep garnet color, with a slight tan head, and a soft carbonation. The nose on this beer is PHENOMENAL. Aromas of fresh bread, sweet malt, butter scotch, vanilla, and waves of peppery alcoholic strength flood the nose. The palate is very rich, flavorful, and complex. Flavors of sweet malt, toffee, butter scotch, estery fruit, and fresh bread coat the tongue. The body is huge, thick, and syrupy. This beer is very warming, it weighs in at about 10%-11% abv. Old Wooly 99 finishes with more big sweet malt flavors up front, the ends with a very warming, soothing, high octane burn.
It is total bliss drinking this beer. Years of age on this beer, has made Old Wooly even more complex, just layers of flavors going on here. I would not pair this beer with any food, this beer is the perfect night cap, a beer to sip and savor. If ever in Seattle in early December, and you want to try one of the best barleywines ever brewed, make it a point to stop by The Big Time Brewery and Ale House. Get yourself a few snifters of Old Wooly Barleywine, and as many nip bottles they will allow you to purchase to go. A stunning beer.
BückDich (5464) - McCall, Idaho, USA - DEC 7, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Vertical Tasting 2000-2005 @ Oakes’ ’05 Xmas Party
Throughout this vertical, it instantly became apparent how consistent the brewer is on this recipe. Typically when verticals arise, more so this point the smaller the brewer, the difference from batch to batch is more in the brew process than from aging. I started with the fresh (2005), moved straight to the oldest (200) (to make the obvious contrasts), then trickled back up the ranks to the more recent editions. The appearance is different, but not much. With aging it clouds a bit more or perhaps it was more yeast that was being stirred up during the tasting, who knows. The hops fade, as expected with time, and reveal a chewy granola maltiness and a sweet molasses combination that is only highlighted by the moderate body that rolls across the palate. The newer ones have more hop homage but you can still taste all the locked away malt complexity that’s just waiting to be awakened. In the finish more of the fruity sides of the beer come out, I found, regardless of age. Complex and tasty. This is definitely one that benefits from putting away. I’d like a fresh start with an older one in a more personal environment but for now, I have plenty of respect for this mammoth barleywine (pun intended).
JoeMcPhee (8053) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 4, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2003 - Sampled at Oakes Xmas Party 2005. Cloudy deep amber beer, sweet malty aroma, chewy body, plummy fruitiness. Peppery ethanolic aroma as it warms. Great beer.
2005 - sampled at the brewery. Nice cloudy deep orange beer with a thin off-white head. Sweet malt, quite vineous, brown sugar, nice fruity sweet aroma. Flavour is also very sweet, fruity citrus/cherry, a bit woody with nice light spice over brown sugar. Lingering white grape/raisin sweetness. Tasty barleywine.
willblake (2626) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - FEB 26, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
02.20.05 Tap at Toronado BWF This was #57, I think it was only added for Sunday. Lacey, red, and pale. Malty and sweet. Cotton candy, vinous. Holy cow this smells great! Fruit salad juice. Sweet tea. Super balance. Very pleasing and for some reason, though it seems only a step above regular, I really, really like it. One of few beers at Toronado I went back for more of.
Suttree (4734) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - MAY 9, 2004
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
#700! WoooHooo! 2003 vintage. Cloudy Orange, small off-white head. Strong aroma of toffee and caramel, with notes of butterscotch, cognac and vanilla. Caramel, winey and an herbal, grassy finish, plus some alcohol - though not enough to be obtrusive. As it warms, a piney hop flavor begins to assert itself, as well as some fruit flavors - plum, raisin, and cherry. The mouthfeel is initially viscous, smooth and very easy to drink. Finally, there is an aggresive and lingering aftertaste. Great Barleywine, and deserves to considered one the world’s best.
BillKismet (3163) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 8, 2002
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Christmas maroon cloor with a ring of large bubbles. It took awhile for me to tease out the aroma--which was reluctant but nicely crafted with candy malt and cherries and possibly a note of vanilla. The flavor was sweet candy--bordering barley wine/english strong ale. Not cloying, but sweeter than I would prefer--could use better balance.
Volgon (2763) - Manchester, New Hampshire, USA - OCT 13, 2002
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
On tap GABF 02: Dark murky orange with a large head, sweet malt aroma, syrupy feel. Starts off sweet, ends really sweet. Fair amount of hops keeps it balanced.
HoppedHead (106) - seattle, Washington, USA - MAY 17, 2002
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
This beer has an almopst cultish following, since it only found at the pub. It’s release gets me ready for holidays, big flavorful brew, big malt flavor and dark amber hue, hops balance the attack, nice bitter bite with lasting flavor, if in seattle for the holidays stop by and try this one!
Oakes (11031) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - NOV 21, 2000
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: DEC 4, 2005 Vibrant ruddy brown colour. Hazy. No head. Soft and sweet body, with back notes of toffee and top notes of cherries. Light leafy hops and gorgeous malts...very simple but very effective. Gets rich late. A quiet barley wine.