GriffinAvenue (396) - Winchester, Massachusetts, USA - SEP 4, 2006
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draft (Sampled on 9/3/06). Caramel, cider-like appearance. Apricot, peach scent. Hints of cork, wood mixed in with the fruity taste. Residual kick. High quality, but was honestly disappointed relative to the hype placed against this barleywine.
ClarkVV (3579) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - AUG 25, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: OCT 3, 2007 Draught stemmed/wine glass at the brewpub on 8/22/06.
Minimally hazy, but very thick-looking, auburn-amber with some darker raspberry tints. Head is small, dense and butter colored, holding at partial cover and piling up around the edges. Very sparse carbonation noted in the liquid.
Fruity nose, with rich honey and candied sugar notes in support. The fruits are light, moderately sweet and very playful. Hops are much less challenging than expected, providing a deep, succulent juiciness, very dark and green, with moderate bitterness. No resin, no intense citrus, hooray. You can almost smell the texture, just warm and comforting, no hard crystal malt influences. Peaches, apricots, cherries and very subtle brandy-like notes all emerge upon warming. The barrel character is mostly concealed in the nose, providing just a glimmer of dry wood. But the chardonnay lends much of the fruitiness. So far, we’ve got soft, supple malts, aromatic hops sans acidity/bitterness and barrel character minus the astringent wood tannin....
The flavor, then, is even more stupefying, when it lives up the aroma. Medium-sweet honey-toffee and somewhat earthy caramel notes hang in balance creating a soft texture, as fruits slowly spring forth from everywhere. Peaches, cherries, apples, plums, strawberries; just a plethora of interesting fruits, which are well-integrated with the malt. Hops add just enough bitterness to check the malt, while a deep, lush/green flavor of hop buds sits in the background. But most curious and pleasant, is the carbonation. Wow, I don’t think I have ever had a draught beer with this type of carbonation. I remarked at the time that it tasted like a bottle conditioned Belgian beer. Fantastically minute bubbles are not quite as intense as to be zesty/spritzy, but certainly are tingly. But they’re also not quite as tight as to produce a creamy effect. They just sort of dance about quickly, imparting the fruitiness and hop bitterness quickly, then fairly rapidly fading as to allow the malt comfort to reprise. Alcohol is well-concealed, light warming at best. Awesome. I actually found the wood character to be minimal; the dry, nutty tannin only being felt lightly on the finish. Another lesson on barrel-aging from Will.
fbennett (293) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 24, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
It poured a ruby caramel creamy color with a small tan head that quickly faded. The nose is fantastic...honey, chardonney grapes, peach, mango, suttle spices, nuts, and oak. The taste starts vinos in nature, alcohal is warming but not really apparent at 10.5%. This beer has loads of tannins that make you smack the tongue, and the hop presence is right there to give you some balancing bitterness.
The strong malt backbone and the aging in the chardonney barrels are a great compliment making this a smooth sippable brew. I can see why this is called a summer barleywine due to the refreshing nature in terms of carbonation, also the fruit feel on the palate. Anyone that is a fan of barleywines you need to try this brew!