Phatz (225) - Paradise, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 3, 2006
3.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 10/20
I was surprisingly very disappointed with this beer. It maybe that I am at fault for not knowing what I was getting into. My favorite beer is Victory’s Old Horizontal. An American Barley Wine. I also enjoyed Weyerbacher’s Insanity. An American Barley Wine. This ’Olde School Barleywine’ is supposedly an American Barley Wine. After looking it up I suppose it does meet the criteria BUT it is NOT what I was expecting! If you are a bitter beer fan, or you like that extremely floral yellow flower taste of sour lilies and tart dandelions then you can disregard my negative comments, you will enjoy this. I however, was expecting and easy drinking smooth beer like Old Horizontal and this is NOT that.
Appearance: Pours out the color of apple juice. 1-2 finger white head fades fast. Good lacing lasts throughout the beer. Transparent and thin looking, like champagne. Lots of carbonation.
Smell: The smell is soapy. Orange. Alcohol.
Taste: Bite! Bite! Bite! SOUR, and BITTER (for what I’d expect). This is not a double IPA, where you want super hops on steroids (that has its place), this is not it (for me). Alpha Attack ;) is meant for that. I did not find this an enjoyable Barley Wine. If you can get through the bitter beer facing long enough to hold it in your mouth for a minute; once all the bitey, prickly, bitter taste has dissipated down your throat, there is infact a momentary pleasant taste of sweet caramel. SMACK! Then the bitter is back.
Mouthfeel: The texture of the beer is nice; if only it didn’t bite like vinegar, it would be pleasing in the mouth. It is rather creamy and full of carbonation.
Drinkability: This almost got a 3 for drinkability because as long as you cover the bitter, hoppy, rabbit food tastes, the texture and the subtly underlying sweets can be refreshing. With PLEANTY of cheese I can almost quench a thirst and come close to enjoying it. Still, I think I’d rather go with a Victory’s Old Horizontal, or a Weyerbacher’s Insanity, which I can actually enjoy without needing to hide the taste. They are much more pleasant options, if your like me.
As my palate for hops is maturing I came back to say this is not as unbearable as I first thought it was just surprising to me at the time.
Now 7-8 months in the cellar it is unclear how much of the change in this beer is my palate and how much is the maturing or the beer. The beer is still very shard and boozy with sugar, caramel and alcohol upfront. The pine seems to have faded substantially and now it is really only distracting in the somewhat sour grassy aftertaste. It seems to be lacking the big grapefruit hop I have grown to like and instead the grassy character comes through as a dandelion stem flavor. But it is much more muted than when I had this beer 8 months ago. Everything up to the aftertaste is very nice with sweet caramel sugars and bit of alcohol bite, yet it maintains a chewy syrupy oily slick, texture. I definitely prefer this one wit some age on it.
Hope this is helpful.
mikalooch (224) - , New Jersey, USA - FEB 11, 2009
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Draft at Bar Great Harry. Pours reddish brown with a hazy but thin white head. Aroma of plum, brandy, and honey. Flavor is tart lemon, dark ripe fruits, and honey. Packs a wallop, alcohol is very present but not overpowering. Well balanced and suprisingly smooth for such a high ABV. Very tasty.
Dmalone102 (223) - Denver, Colorado, USA - MAY 7, 2009
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
I have to say, this is my favorite barleywine of all time. It seems very well attenuated, it’s not cloying at all. The dryness and hop/malt balance make it a surprisingly drinkable Barleywine, especially at 15%. The dark fruit and deep caramel flavors that are associated with Barleywine are present and distinct, but not overpowering.
epf33 (223) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - DEC 7, 2008
3.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
unlike the picture, mine had a neon green cap with a warning sign on top. very strong!! according to the bottle you have to leave it in a plastic bag in a pit somewhere for a year, i only left it in there for 3 months... close enough! spicy finish
sunnyridge (222) - USA - APR 20, 2010
4.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Ohhh the complexity! Pours a hazy darker orangish amber color, Thin head that sticks around. Lots of fruit in the aroma- apples, cherry, grape even a hint of pear. Big smell from the malt, like it’s gonna be so sweet your face will pucker. Taste is big and rich with heavy malts, candy, apples and grape. For being so big you really don’t notice the alcohol- very scary. A fantastic palate, very complex. Leaves a very sweet but nice aftertaste of dried fruit and malt.
GeniusGirl (221) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - OCT 30, 2004
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
bottle. deep honey color with delicate white head smells of prunes, alcohol, rasinbread... flavor of syrupy sweet figs and the concoction you made by skimming off all the liquor you could find in your parents pantry into one bottle... this heats ya up, that’s for sure! drank in celebration of finally finishing Bleak House... the novel that seemed to never end...
BenDover (219) - Texas, USA - NOV 21, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a slightly cloudy orange-red, with two fingers of very dense yellow-white foam that leaves behind quite a bit of lacing. Aroma is faint, yeasty and earthy. Taste is very complex - raisins, caramel and malty sweetness, a touch of citrus fruit, and a hoppy bite to it. The alcohol warms without overpowering. Would not have guessed it was 15% abv. Very good stuff.
vlan1 (219) - Austin, Texas, USA - APR 27, 2014
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a light amber color with a moderate beige head. Nose is caramel and fruit. Taste is prodominately caramel and dark fruit with a definite noticable alcohol burn on the back end.
Krej (219) - USA - DEC 4, 2014
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
This is a very strong beer. You almost have to chew it. Very malty and delicious, but also very strong. Not much hops to it. I did drink it very fresh though and have a couple bottles to age, so I’m excited to see what happens to it.
Shakesbeere (219) - Oxford, Oxfordshire, ENGLAND - DEC 26, 2009
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Aroma of oak, honey, fig, and alcohol -- a bit like a mead. Flavor is sweet -- definite characters of honey, dark fruit, and alcohol. Part of the flavor has a slight semblance of something near to ginger licorice. Pretty good, but feels a little too strong, though it masks how truly strong it is well.