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.
solidfunk (5984) - Washington D.C., Washington DC, USA - JUN 22, 2013
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Barrel aging doesn’t always improve a beer and I think this is a good example of when it doesn’t happen. Caramelized malt and some hops here. Texture syrupy. Pours dark red with ok head and lacing. Finishes slightly astringent. Very barrel-heavy. Maybe some more time in the bottle would balance this out but seems counter intuitive to age something to take away the excessive barrel-aging. Bottle thanks to Slovaksniper.
riversideAK (5830) - 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.
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 (5357) - 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.
vtafro (5254) - 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.
bytemesis (5183) - 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.
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.
Ernesto987 (4965) - 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
presario (4901) - Stampede City, Alberta, CANADA - APR 1, 2010
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle. Dark copper with a fair head for a BW. Appears very viscous as it pours which makes the head surprising. Big boozy brown sugar, rum and molasses aroma. Big sugary boozy body makes me think of caramel or toffee liquere and ice cream. Hints of soy.