jbeatty (1104) - New York, USA - JAN 7, 2012
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle, tasted 9/14/2011. Thanks to iguenard. Pours muddy brown, nearly still. Really not at all appealing appearance, like someone put chalk dust in my beer. Smell of rich oak, caramel toffee, vanilla, darker fruits, raisins dominant with a hint of cherry, darker bread malts. Taste has dark fruits, caramel, sharp vanilla, molasses with resinous bitter hops, alcoholic heat in the finish. Thick, chewy and smooth, but booze cuts down drinkability. Overall super tasty, complex, and enjoyable once I got past its chalky exterior.
deyholla (7474) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - DEC 23, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle shared by Kyle, thanks! Pours a hazy caramel amber with an off-white head that dissipates to the edges. Aroma has a good amount of bourbon with some backing caramel and sweet cookies. Flavor begins with bread and caramel backed by sweet grains with some backing bourbon.
Glouglouburp (6104) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 21, 2011
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
In short: A rich, complex a fruity big beer with a restrained bourbon barrel presence. Similar to AleSmith Barrel Aged Old Numbskull and almost as good.
How: Many times, from fresh on tap the day of release and bottles at various age until now 1.5 year after the beer release
The look: Opaque brown body topped by a medium beige head with medium retention leaving lots of lacings on the glass
In long: Nose is toasted sweet malts, lots of raisins and moderate bourbon notes. Because of its strong fruity character this is a bourbon barrel aged barley wine that smells a bit like an Abt aged for a short period of time in bourbon barrels, and as such it very much reminds me of AleSmith Barrel Aged Old Numbskull. Taste is rich caramelized malts, wood chips sensation, raisins, some other dark fruits, cherry pit, vanilla, raisin bread. Some hops resin remains despite the barrel aging. A bit of alcohol in the finish. I could go on and on listing flavour elements in this beer, this is one hell of a complex beer. Again, I cannot help but to compare this 1.5 year old bottle to the Barrel Aged Old Numbskull that I had a few days before. A lot more similarities than differences between the two. I slightly preferred the Alesmith but not by much. This Solstice d’Hiver Réserve Spéciale is truly an underrated beer, probably because it comes in a 12oz bottles and it is not from an American brewery. Call me a Quebec homer if you want but I really believe this beer is one of the best barrel aged Barley Wine ever made. That’s my opinion and I don’t care what the rest of the world says, anyway I lost respect for the world ever since I heard world music.
emacgee (4243) - Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA - NOV 14, 2011
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Shared by turd. Showing some serious age/oxidation. Pours ruddy brown with no head. Candyish nose with a light bready character. Would have liked it much more fresher.
TURDFERGUSON (4004) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - NOV 9, 2011
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle thanks to Glouglouburp. Pours a muddy, rusty brown with a medium sized off white head. Solid lacing. Nose shows some mild oxidation, heavy caramel, subdued vanilla, brown sugar, light barrel-like tartness, dark fruits. Its almost quad-like at times. Seems like the aging and barrel have thinned this beer out a bit and made it more drinkable than I remember the un-barreled version being. Flavor is a bit sweeter than the nose, lots of brown sugar and caramel and less dark fruits. Finishes sweet, and lightly metallic. Not a big barley wine fan these days, but this one stands out more than others.
redlight (2317) - Orlando, Florida, USA - SEP 27, 2011
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Thanks to godofthunder for sharing. Rich licorice and molasses on the nose. Pours dark amber with a very thin white head. Very rich malty with licorice notes and dark molasses a little boozy with a smooth vanilla finish.
GodOfThunder (1248) - Orlando, Florida, USA - SEP 27, 2011
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Thanks to glouglouburp. Pours brown and boozy. Pretty thin, with a slight astringency. Not bad at all.
jrallen34 (3487) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - SEP 3, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
bottle... dark brown with a light tan head... nice whopperish malt with some smooth oak, smells pretty good... wow this tastes really good, lots of smooth light bourbon with caramel and oak... this is great
MaltOMeal (1092) - Land of Sugar, Texas, USA - AUG 8, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
bottle thanks to Glouglouburp. Pours dark brown with a tan head which dissipated. Nose is of oak, toffee, vanilla and raisins. Taste is of caramel, molasses and brown sugar. Very tasty. Mouthfeel is sweet and creamy with some alcohol warmth. This was a very good brew. Much better than the regular version. Glad I got to try this.
pushkinwow (2176) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - JUN 5, 2011
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
341ml bottle from Ian. Light brown with a light tan head. Sweet plum, some booze, wood, raisins, bit of caramel/toffee and smoke. Medium bodied, starts sweet but some bitterness so that its not overwhelming, good carbonation, with a great finish that keeps on giving - plum, raisins, hint of booze that gives everything a bite. Was told this was aged in Utopias but regardless its delicious and if you can get one make sure to try it!