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RATINGS: 538   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.39/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 300   ABV: 10%
Traditional winter seasonals are warm and comforting - not this Penguin. Diving in at around 10 percent alcohol by volume, Killer Penguin uses over twice the malt as other winter beers, and is aged for over 6 months to perfect the condition and flavor of this barleywine style ale. This beer doesn't ferment, it hibernates, and wakes up with an attitude.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Gorbalev (3000) - Ontario, CANADA - JAN 15, 2007
Bottle shared with GregClow, Hogtown Harry, Mabel, Jerc, and Blankboy, courtesy of Harry. 2006 Bottle. Ruby red, foamy white head. Mild fruit and alcohol in weak aroma. Nice soft malt taste. No alcohol really. No complexity at all. Finishes better, with some wood and slight alcohol notes. Maybe it is just too young; what is here is nice enough, but there just is not much here. Great name though.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
GuilTTy (728) - Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA - JAN 11, 2007
22 oz Bomber. Hazy rich amber supporting a small but dense off white head with faint lacing. The aroma is more in line with a standard amber ale than a barleywine with predominant notes of caramel and a touch of citrus. Citrusy flavor with more hop presence than expected in a barleywine but typical overripe fruit and some port-like notes dance about as well. Alcohol reveals itself in the otherwise long and sweet finish. To be fair, I sampled this one when it was probably too cold so I’ll rerate after allowing another to warm a bit.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
Pailhead (6248) - Plymouth, Michigan, USA - JAN 10, 2007
Bottle: Courtesy of Styles. The aroma consists of fruit, caramel, and some off chemical vapors. It pours a transparent amber with a small white head. The flavor starts with some faint caramel that quickly fades to some citrus hops with some off chemical flavors and alcohol. There are some hints of peach in the background. The chemical aroma and flavor just isn’t very pleasing and the alcohol is not covered up enough.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
sneagrams3 (2337) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - JAN 10, 2007
2006. 22oz bomber. Deep ruby garnet hue. Sparse spiraling bone white head. Sticky malty sweet aroma. Full bodied with sweet malts and a bitter finish. Lively malt flavors. Cocoa and red fruit. Bready and toffee. Smooth initial flavor. Burn is apparent but nothing crazy. Finish is bitter and sticky. Lively and pleasant. Effervescent. Slight cola dried fruit flavor. Finish has a sweet and bitter dichotomy. Well done in my eyes.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
RollinHard (1024) - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - JAN 9, 2007
Pours a ruby/copper color with a large head, that reduces itself to a lasting ring o’ foam fairly quickly. Aroma is of sugar, biscuits, butter, pears, and alcohol. The malt flavors blend pretty well, and tastes of some caramel and toffee, but there’s also some pear and citrus/bitter hop flavor. I taste a bit of that booziness as well. Pretty hot from the alcohol. Finishes with some dark/dried fruit flavors, some toast and a slightly off-putting Pinesol-like hop finish. Like others said, this is a bit light bodied for a barleywine. Would be better labelled as winter warmer, with less alcohol. Due to the lighter body, this beer can’t hide its heat which makes the booziness out of place. Pretty good creaminess though. A decent beer.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 8/20
punkrkr27 (903) - Berkley, Michigan, USA - JAN 8, 2007
UPDATED: JAN 17, 2007 2006 bottle, possibly spoiled. Malty aroma, a tiny bit of dark fruit and something very chemical, diacetyl maybe? Tasted the same as it smelled with a very metallic taste lasting on the tongue. Medium body with low carbonation.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
blankboy (7051) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 2, 2007
Bottle shared with HogTownHarry, GregClow, jerc & mabel -- courtesy of HogTownHarry. 2006 bottle. Pours a clear amber with a small lasting white head. Mild fruity aroma with yeast, brown sugar, hops, wood and alcohol. Flavour’s a bit boozy, once you get past that there’s sweet malt, hops, fruit and wood. Medium bodied. It’s a little mild (and probably too young) and far from "Killer" but I still found it decent enough.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Dorwart (2491) - Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA - DEC 31, 2006
Good sized head of off-white bubbles. Minimal carbonation. Head reduces slowly and leaves a thick sticky splotchy sheet of lacing. Caramelly sweet aroma with a plethora of piney hops. Light malts and a bit of spicy zest. Color is an amazing bright, glowing mahagony red. More malty sweetness and caramel. Little bit of hops presence. Still tastes young and a little hot. This could use a little nap time to mellow. Decent flavors in there but they don’t compliment each other very well yet. Separate sweet malts and separate hops presence that seem to be fighting against one another. Flavor is also a little weak for a barleywine. Finishes warm and spicy with the hops dominating the aftertaste. Not a bad barleywine just one that could stand to age and develope for a while.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
GarrettB (1365) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 31, 2006
UPDATED: OCT 14, 2007 What goes better with snow than a penguin? Snow by itself is fine for pastoral paintings (a la Rockwell) and maybe some snow forts, but a good, pudgy penguin enriches any snow laden scene with a connotation of playfulness and innocence. It also makes it purely natural. Never have I seen a photograph or a picture of both man and penguin together, save for at the zoo, which I consider a very forced environment. So it is, then, that the penguin is a celebration of the natural as it is most intimately expressed in winter, or at least in very cold climates in the absence of civilization. But the penguin is not at the heart of nature’s cruelest side. We save that spot for snakes and bears and other such fanged beasts. No, the penguin is the playful side of nature – and most importantly, toothless (both literally and figuratively). No matter how hard Boulder Beer tries, I don’t think they can ever dispel that image, even with their startling portrayal of an angrily optical bird smashing through the logo. They would have done better to make a killer beer, but even there the toothless perception prevails. The taste is high in alcohol, true, and it really digs into the tongue from sip one, but it leaves little room for other flavors. It is a vengefully focused beer, dry enough to rattle your teeth a bit, but the other shades of raisins and wine that hit the center-back of the mouth are left to fend for themselves with their own meager substance. To further their already muted voices, they’re accompanied by a generic hops burn, insuring that no other dimensions are included in the angry but overall monolithically brewed beer. The alcohol is brutal, but that doesn’t make it killer. It makes it generic. Killer to me means harsh but flavorful, not the exclusion of the latter. The Killer Penguin’s body is murky, but at its heart is a deep, dark brown-orange, pushing up a light tan head that makes a quick exit. The aroma is more engaging. Chocolate milk balls, raisins, extremely dark red wine and a touch of coffee round off a common but pleasant smell. But still, it remains a beer that could be confused with a hundred others like it. It fails to fine tune the petty details that would make it shine, or one might say, the details that make it killer. With some warmth the chocolate milk balls turns to a dark, bitter chocolate and the raisin notes attenuate a tad, but it’s only a modicum of change. The crux of the beer remains the same. It’s listless, boring and not bad enough to deserve harsh criticism. It is a solid beer, then, and pleasant to drink as a penguin is to look at. But it won’t send chills down your spine like the label would have you think.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
ghostmonkey (204) - budd lake, New Jersey, USA - DEC 27, 2006
bottle . . pours dark/amber and clear with small white head . . aroma is sweet cherry, malty, alcohol . . taste is very sweet/bitter finish . . mostly alcohol flavor . . pretty watery . . eh, not bad . . just ok!

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