Alengrin (3684) - BELGIUM - SEP 6, 2015
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Vintage bottle of 1,5 years old, dark barley wine aged on bourbon barrels. Loose, irregular, coarse, pale greyish beige head, taking some forcing to form and retaining only on the edges but even then very thinly so and all but vanishing in the end, probably due to the massive alcohol content; colour is a misty deep burgundy, warm and ’autumn-like’. Complex and powerful, seductive aroma of bourbon, vanilla-like oak tannins and old furniture, old madera or oloroso sherry, cassonade sugar, marmelade, Syrah wine, pear brandy, candied dates, banana, liquorice candy, chestnut sweetishness, candied cherries, caramel, dried flowers, raisins, gin, cinnamon... Absolutely wonderful if you are a barley wine fan like myself. Intense taste elevated by the massive alcohol content, concentrated candied, almost marmelade-like and candied cherry-like sweetness at first, dark exotic sugar with a sourish citrus peel and even slightly lemony touch, soft but finely tingling carbo, very thick and fat, soft, oily body; an abysmal maltiness dominates most of the palate, with layer upon layer of caramel, chocolate, sweet nuts and a hint of coffee grounds without becoming roasted bitter; honeyish and candyish sweetness sticks and becomes a little bit sticky in the end. Finish is a complex ’grand finale’ of ongoing candi sweetness, thick and noble caramelly maltiness, drying wood tannins, oxidized sherry (with a sedative retronasal effect), some lingering oud bruin-like tartness (i.e. the soft citrussy acidity from the onset) but subtly so, a deep and earthy presence of hops without deep bittering powers but providing balance, and of course a heart warming glow of deeply penetrating, rhum- and liqueur-like alcohol. Candied sweetness was the first encounter on this wonderful journey, and it is the last impression remaining after swallowing as well, completing the circle, but I think this would have been better if it were a bit less sweet. That being said, De Molen is righteously famous for big, warming, complex ales like this, this is a demanding, but rewarding dark barley wine indeed and I have the impression the ageing rounded the flavours and making this even better. I was a bit suspicious concerning the huge alcohol content, but this beer has so much body and complexity that the 16+% ABV does not even bother me - I look at this as a glass of port or sherry, which have about the same strength. And sweetness: I’d say this is just a tad too sweet for my liking and would benefit from more hops and / or less residual sugars, but there is a kind of tartness to it bringing some balance, though it left me craving for a dry beer afterwards. Still, pretty delightful and complex. Doubtlessly a great beer for ’longer term’ ageing as well.
Habanero (3437) - Tranbjerg, DENMARK - JUL 11, 2015
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottled. Pours clear and deep amber with a small, lacing beige head. Aroma of toffee, caramel, dark fruit notes, wood and bourbon. Sweet flavor that ends up with alcohol and bitter notes. Medium bodied, oily to syrupy texture and soft to flat carbonation. A very nice Barley indeed. 🌟🌟🌟🌟
MarcoDL (3218) - NETHERLANDS - MAY 31, 2015
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Draft @ Kaapse festival. Brown-ish pour, no head. Aroma of bourbon vanilla, malt and raisin. Taste is heavily sweet, with vanilla, boozy bourbon, ripe red fruit, raisin and gritty malt. Nice one.
ZodiacM (454) - NETHERLANDS - MAY 5, 2015
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Zeer complex biertje. Schenkt een bruin-zwart bier zonder schuimkraag. De geur is zoetig, met daarachter de geur van bourbon, hout, caramel, rook. De smaak is zeer zoet, rozijnen, caramel, mout, bourbon, hout. De structuur is olie-achtig en de nasmaak is zeer prettig, zacht met een lichte bourbon-smaak. Het alcohol-percentage van 16% is nauwelijks te proeven, maar wel merkbaar. Heel erg lekker!, maar je moet er van houden, niet voor iedereen.
minutemat (2913) - Shrewsbury, Shropshire, ENGLAND - APR 22, 2015
2.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
330ml bottle. Pours pitch black with fast receding tan head. Aroma is strong treacle, brown sugar, liquorice and sweet overripe dark fruits. Thick cough-syrup mouthfeel that coats the back of the throat. Taste is sweet & syrupy with gloopy bourbon & port notes. Not sure this is my kinda beer.
Erasmus_ro (2088) - Alabama, USA - JAN 19, 2015
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
BOttle. Pours a dark auburnish brown with a small, beige head. Aroma is oak, whiskey, soy, salty liquorice, liquorice. Taste is very sweet, oak, lots of vanilla, whiskey, lots of salty liquorice. Salty liquorice candy. Merkkari-candy for the Finns. Some soy, alcohol well hidden underneath all the sweet, salty liquorice and vanilla. Full, oily, decent carbonation. Somewhat cloying on its own, pairs well with good quality ice cream.
Douberd (3728) - Arnhem, NETHERLANDS - DEC 30, 2014
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
(De Molen Bommen & Granaten (Bourbon BA)) Bottle 330 ml at home, served into a snifter, ABV 16.2% for 4.85 euros, you can’t beat that. Bottled 11 March ’14
Dark red ruby colour on the body, no head, just a thin line forming around the glass after a hard pour.
Aroma of yes, bourbon, vanilla, sweet red fruits, dark fruits too, some faint wood, alcohol.
Very sweet taste, almost syrup like. Lots of red fruits, marmalade, sugars, alcohol, not so boozy as I thought it would be, there is a light alcohol burn every now and then though. The bourbon not so obvious here but still there.
Medium thick body, low carbonation, very sticky on the palate.
Too sweet, maybe with some time on it?
Vaiz (4052) - Den Haag, NETHERLANDS - DEC 5, 2014
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle at home. Clear dark copper pour, no head. Aroma is candy sugars, vanilla, licorice, caramel, tropical fruits, spicy and slightly warming. The flavor is quite warming, very sweet and with a nice spicy bourbon sharp edge to it. Really well balanced and solid. Great brew.
AbouAli (195) - SWITZERLAND - DEC 5, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Petite mousse odeur de malt et alcool léger, léger goût de fruit. Bonne buvabilité malgré tout et notamment l’alcool
rhsiung (1293) - USA - NOV 9, 2014
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
330-ml bottle from cervezorama. perfectly balanced malt and sweetness. didn’t mistake this for a 7 percent beer!