Rastacouere (6164) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 2, 2010
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Hazy dark brown pour covered by an impressive, initially large-bubbled beige foam which recedes to a tight, uniform cover with traces remaining all along the sides. Adorable toastiness from the malts remains a standout despite the obvious bourbon notes. Highly cakey nature, a spongey chocolate cake with maple icing. This has kept its rich consistency and more carbonation than most oak-aged offerings. From what I’ve heard, it would be the result of a 3:1 blend with the oaked version: standard version since the oaked alone felt a little too much to the owners. I can certainly see their point in terms of mouthfeel and in terms of keeping the best parts of the standard. The result is that this is just as complex as the regular Solstive d’hiver, but less forward on the beautiful grapey/fruity vinousness, less forward on the serious hop dosage and thus seemingly a bit sweeter, very ripe with an enhanced oak, smoke, butterscotch and vanilla flavour range. Combined with the aging, there is not much hop character left, but its borderline roasty character provides a sense of balance. This is quite the treat and my favourite new sweet beer in a long time.
Glouglouburp (6103) - 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.
riversideAK (5936) - Shoreline, Washington, USA - APR 16, 2010
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Tons of dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla on the nose. Some alcohol heat as well. Sweet, fruity, and alcoholic, oh yeah. Copper pour, creamy head. Nice looking beer. Vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, alcohol. Sweet and boozy. Solid barrel notes, a little.
bytemesis (5553) - Sunnyvale, California, USA - SEP 27, 2013
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Thanks to Gikinji for this bottle! Pours clear ruby hazel, beautiful with a medium tan head and nice lacing. Aroma is light, with notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, cotton candy, bourbon. Flavor is the same, very sugary without being overly sweet, vanilla, light astringence, just a touch of zesty bitterness. Medium body, creamy.
vtafro (5514) - Wayne, New Jersey, USA - MAY 13, 2010
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle shared by Glouglouburp, at post NotB tasting. Brown pour. Bourbon, oak, malty caramel, maple, dark fruit vanilla, and some light chocolate, also a bit of warming.
Rciesla (5499) - Exit 15W, New Jersey, USA - MAR 7, 2010
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Pours a mahogany body with a white head. Sweet bourbon warming, vanilla and oak accents. A hint of maple and a subtle warming. Vinous with dark fruit tones dates, fig and a warm chewy oak y warming. A nice Barrel aged BW.
Boutip (5464) - Gatineau, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 2, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a medium size head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of caramelized barley malty with some vanilla and bourbon notes with light acrid finish which is not the most pleasant. Taste is also dominated with big caramelized malt notes with quite a big of residual sugars with some notes of bourbon and vanilla with an acrid finish. Body is quite full with good carbonation with no apparent alcohol notes. Very nice night cap but I could do without some of the acrid notes detected here.
JulienHuxley (5154) - Trois-Rivičres, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 18, 2010
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle at DDC 12th anniversary. Aroma of fermented cherries, wet wood, molasses. Taste is a little bit better. Very woody, caramelized cherries with a subtle hop backbone. Palate is rich and boozy, not too sticky. I couldn’t wait to taste this one and wad very disapointed, especially with the aroma.
Ernesto987 (5128) - Arizona, USA - AUG 6, 2013
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Fantasic barrel aging, sweet and caramelly with a slight bit of chocolate, I really like it
Dickinsonbeer (5075) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - FEB 23, 2010
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Multiple 12 oz bottles shared by Glouglouburp! Thanks Dany. Apparently blended 3 Utopias barrels and 1 bourbon barrel then cut/blended with 10% unaged Solstice d’Hiver to cut the bourbon and oakiness. Appearance is dark woody hazelnut amber brown with a nice foamy beige head. Aroma is very big with caramel, big toasted malts, dried shriveled fruits- raisin, dates, etc, moderate oak and wood tones, toast, light bourbon caramel, toasted wood, light sherry oxidation with fruity esters, - barrel aging is noticed but not over-done. Flavor is more fruity and big caramelized malts and oak, big toast, some molasses hints of maple, vanilla, brown sugar, dark crystal malts, sherry hint, soy hint, wood, oak, light bourbon and a very smooth finish- even though there is a lot of sweetness all around- it does not get sugary or cloying- it fades a bit in the end and lingers in the mouth just a bit. Very nice Barleywine.