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.
jtclockwork (10619) - , New Jersey, USA - APR 23, 2015
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Pours dark brown tan head. Nose/taste of cognac, oak, toffee, dark fruit, nutty malt, light oxidation, caramel - full body.
vtafro (4653) - Wayne, New Jersey, USA - APR 23, 2015
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle. Brown pour with no head. Sweet and barrel aromas. Sweet caramel, dark and sweet malt tones, a touch of cognac and wine.
djd07 (5885) - Houston, Texas, USA - MAR 4, 2015
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle during RBWG Grand Tasting. Pours a cloudy copper brown with small beige head. The aroma is caramel, dark fruits, brown sugar. Medium mouth with similar flavors to nose, alcohol hidden well, very nice.
Pailhead (5554) - Plymouth, Michigan, USA - OCT 4, 2014
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Courtesy of mrebeks
Bottle: The aroma consists of moderate caramel, toffee, light molasses, a hint of vanilla, and a touch of dark fruits. It pours a dark brown with some orange highlights and a small off-white head that quickly fades to a fine ring around the edges of the glass. The flavor starts with moderate toffee, caramel, lighter molasses, and faint chocolate. The finish has light-moderate raisin, cognac, and faint dark fruits. It’s medium-full bodied with a slightly sticky mouthfeel.
tectactoe (3099) - Michigan, USA - SEP 4, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle: Thanks, Corbet. Just like the non barrel aged version, this one pours a muddy, almost swampy looking copper & brown color with a thin beige ring being the only sign of carbonation. Sweet, boozy aroma. Subtly spicy wood with caramel & toffee sauce drizzled over a basket of prunes & sweet figs. Small dusting of cocoa powder in the back-end. Light blackcurrant flavor out of the gate; coated in toffee sauce & rolled in brown sugar. Figs, prunes, mild Good & Plenty candies. Mid-palate showcases the barrel aging with a moderately tannic oak character coming alive, alongside a sweet Cognac flavor. Sweet & spicy all at once. Slightly earthy leading into a buttery toffee, sweet brown sugar & Cognac finish. Sticky, syrupy mouth coating finish. Wow, what an improvement over the base beer. Great barrel aged barley wine. The Cognac adds a very interesting spin.
PriorL (2643) - Gent, BELGIUM - AUG 20, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
75cl bottle thx to Mathieu87.
APPEARANCE: clouded brown beer, no head.
NOSE: chocolate, alcohol, some bourbon, wood.
TASTE: chocolate, alcohol burn, quite fruity, decent but a little too heavy for me.
alexsdad06 (6873) - Ohio, USA - JUN 10, 2014
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
750 ml bottle shared with the group in 2012 from notes. Pours a hazy darker brown color with dark reddish highlights and a small, disappearing beige head. The aroma and flavor have ample dark fruit, figs, raisins, prunes, caramel, vanilla, cognac, hints of wood, toffee with a smooth mouthfeel. This was pretty sweet, but very enjoyable and actually hid the abv nicely.
Advocate_Ames (501) - Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 2, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2yr aged bottle. Pours a dark brown with a soft off white bubbling foam head. The aroma is full of honey and carmel like booze, oak, buttery toffee scented malts, and brown sugar. In tasting the church on a hill I picked up on a moderate to high level of booze, very honey like cognac flavor, wood aging notes, molasses, defined carmel malts, and a weak vanilla taste. The finish is boozy, very sweet, and has a quickly fading bitterness. Overall this was a very interesting brew.
DTM (798) - Winters, California, USA - MAR 16, 2014
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Shared bottle with Timfoolery. Pours an opaque brown and smells of toffee and bourbon. Just the right amount of SMG. Tastes of toffee and an assortment of dark fruits. A top level beer.
knickskicks (873) - - 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.