KickInChalice (860) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 7, 2012
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a tulip.
Barrel aged Church on a Hill pours a nice, deep walnut brown color with a slight ruby tint to the edges. A tan cap recedes to a ring around the edge of the glass after a minute or two.
The cognac treatment really ties the aroma together. Toffee, caramel, fig, raisins, and a strong, tight cognac note all come through nicely. Having had a few different bourbon barrel barleywines, the cognac makes a noticeable difference in the nose.
Each sip is wonderfully complex. While toffee, caramel, figs, and raisins vie for control with a sweet, boozy, and intense cognac flavor. The progression is such that the sweetness from the base beer comes through first, the cognac comes in second, and the fruit and mild complexities differentiate themselves over the second half of the sip. Each quaff pulls back a little more of the complexity, revealing some vanilla notes, spicy cognac flavor, and a mild nuttiness. The beer finishes smooth.
Cognac Church on a Hill has a rich, full, and decadent mouthfeel, with the cognac providing a slightly lighter boozy character than bourbon or whiskey. As I would expect for the style and ABV, the carbonation is creamy and almost crushed under the body of the beer. There is an unavoidable stickiness that comes from a beer of this size and style, but it is not over the top.
It is clear that Cigar City knows what they are doing with their barrel aging program. They have created some great beers in the past, and this is an example of them using a more obscure barrel that compliments the base beer well to create wonderful results.
knickskicks (606) - - FEB 21, 2014
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Dark brown pour, off white head. Nose is toffee, figs, caramel, a touch of prunes. Taste is toffee, caramel, prunes, figs, cognac. Full silky mouthfeel.
jackl (3780) - Charlottesville, Virginia, USA - FEB 13, 2014
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle @ The HUGE Tasting. Cheers to Paulo for pulling yet another rabbit out of his hat. The pour’s deep brown with a small tan head. Burnt chocolate brownies and brown sugar. Some hot boozy wood. Dense raisin bread flavors. Rocky road fudge. Rum raisin ice cream. Some red apples. Hot finish. Full body, rich and oily. Really nice, a great BA barley wine.
hopdog (8455) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 21, 2014
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
750ml bottle. BBT3 tasting. Poured a brown color with a very small sized off white head. Dark fruits, wood, vanilla, oak, whiskey, caramel, and brown sugary sweetness. Alcohol overall well hidden.
Theydon_Bois (6500) - The ’Sham, Surrey, ENGLAND - JAN 9, 2014
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle shared at HUGE Friday, big thanks to Paulo for this treat, 03/01/14.
Murky mahogony brown with a moderate light beige covering that this to edgework and a pond.
Nose is dark toffee fudge, dark malt, fruit loaf, sweet brown bread, dark fruits.
Taste comprises toffee fudge, brown sugars, boozey tones, sweet, candied sugars, dark fruits.
Full bodied, fine carbonation, light boozey twang in the finish.
Solid barley wine, a little sweet at times but generally a good all round balance.
madmitch76 (13066) - , Essex, ENGLAND - JAN 8, 2014
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
3rd January 2014
Mega Tasting at Bruce’s pad. Thanks to Paul for this treat. Light haze on this dark brown beer. Small pale cream coloured head. Palate is softish and slightly dry. Sweetish malts carry mild chocolate. Smooth barrel induced vanilla with mellow sweetish cognac. Dried fruits before a little spice. Pretty approachable for such a big beer.
Scopey (5299) - Croydon, Greater London, ENGLAND - JAN 6, 2014
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle via trade, shared at that massive Friday tasting. It pours deep brown with a small light tn head. The nose is rich, toffee, toasty brown sugar, candy, wood, cognac, jammy berry and dried fruits. The taste is bitter-sweet, wood, toast, earth, cognac, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, fruit cake and dried fruits. Full body, moderate carbonation and oily mouth-feel. Perhaps a touch sweet, but nice depth to it. Very nice.
maneliquor (2729) - Perth, AUSTRALIA - JAN 4, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle at the big tasting. Big thanks to Paulio for this bad bastard! Pours very deep brown with a small tan head leaving superb lacing. Nose is velvety smooth vanilla and toffee, stewed dates and sultana, mild spice, coconut and a stickiness about it. Taste is big on the coconut and silky smooth toffee. Lots of dates and prunes, stewed dark fruit focus, milk chocolate, christmas cake-like stuff. Decadent. Very good
arminjewell (5588) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - NOV 4, 2013
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pour out of 750 mL bottle, side by side with the regular, Darkness Day 2012. Dark brownish black pour with thin off white head, aroma brought notes of big dark fruits, dark cocoa powder, lots of cognac from the barrels, spirit notes but not overly boozy at all, nice earth, oak, and caramel, molasses notes, slight hints of grass, this is decadent. Taste is a mix of dark cocoa, coffee, nice oak into cognac, sweet dark sugary and fruity notes, slight booze but more on the warming side, hints of spice, molasses, finishing sweet. Nice.
wheresyourball (416) - El Cajon, California, USA - OCT 21, 2013
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle, thanks to Steve. Pours dark, almost black with a small beige head. Nose is malt, vinious, cognac, vanilla, dark fruit. Flavor is woody with dark fruits, vanilla, caramel, toffee, molasses. Nice smooth mouthfeel. Very sweet, some sips reminded me of BCBS. Very good.
ksurkin (1021) - Norfolk, Virginia, USA - SEP 25, 2013
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: SEP 27, 2013 750ml bottle, via trade. excited to try this as I’ve heard good things. pours a deep, hazy, russet brown capped by a smooth, creamy khaki head that leaves tight rings of lace. aroma is stunning with huge dark fruit notes of fig, date, and black cherry backed by maple syrup, toffee, vanilla, and notes orange zest infused cognac, toast, and subtle spices. flavor is where this one really stands out with the rich notes of cognac, sweet caramel, toffee, and vanilla bean coming to the forefront with subtle, slightly tart fruits, more orange zest, winter spices, and candied walnuts emerging on the finish. palate is rich and full bodied and smooth carbonation and a lingering finish of sweet toffee and warming cognac. overall, this is simply a standout brew, perhaps the best cognac barrel aged effort I’ve tasted. well done.