umich03jm (1315) - Allen Park, Michigan, USA - AUG 23, 2013
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bomber from Summer Secret Santa. Pours a cloudy dark mahogany with a little head that fades to a ring. Aromas jumps out at you. Big oak, caramel, toffee, honey, cocoa, citrus, and dark fruit. Taste is syrupy sweet with a mild bitterness. Packed with oak, caramel and toffee. Finish is dark fruit and citrus with a moderate booziness. Medium to thick body, syrupy mouthfeel. Overall, a really nice sipping barley wine. I think I liked XVI better but it’s hard to compare, I had them at completely different ages.
olio (4819) - Tampere, FINLAND - AUG 23, 2013
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
65 cl bottle @ PBF 2013.
Pours clear dark mahogany red color with a small head. Aroma of ripe fruits, some caramel malts, some toffee and sugary syrup notes . Flavor of sweet caramel malts, ripe sweet fruits, syrup, some wood and resiny hops. Somewhat too sweet palate, but still quite nice and enjoyable slow sip brew.
lusikka (4997) - Tampere, FINLAND - AUG 23, 2013
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
650 ml bottle @ PBF 2013. Brought from Coit Liquours, San Francisco.
Pours a dark copper amber colour with a small head. Aroma of strong bourbon, strong blackberries, grass and sweet caramel. Rich flavour of strong sweet caramel, bourbon, grass, wood, salty licorice, orange zest and dark chocolate. Full bodied, thick mouthfeel and soft carbonation. Maybe not as complex as I hoped for, but still an excellent beer. I think the XVI version was better than this.
oh6gdx (19652) - Vasa, FINLAND - AUG 23, 2013
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottled@PBF VIII. Deep reddish ruby colour, small beige head. Aroma ia mild fruits, some plum, a bit of hops and quite big time chocolate. Flavour is chocolate, some raisins and some toasted and coffeeish notes in the finish.
laiti (4550) - Helsinki, FINLAND - AUG 23, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
66 cl bottle @ PBF VIII
Aroma is sweet with caramel, resin and some slight woody notes – quite typical to American Strong. Also some sweet berry notes. Flavour is rather sweet with stinging alcohol, woody notes, vanilla, caramel and toffee. Also some peppery notes on some sips. Too sweet (no surprises here) but not bad still.
tiong (2785) - Espoo, FINLAND - AUG 23, 2013
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
650ml bottle @ PBF 2013. Thanks lusikka!
Pours dark brown with a smooth white head. Complex and heavy aroma with notes of sweet syrup, caramely malts, roastiness, ripe fruits, vanilla, wood, oak and bitterness. Taste is complex and caramely with notes of dark ripe fruits, wood, oak, vanilla, sweet syrup, chocolate and hops. Finish is spicy, malty and roasty with notes of oak, wood, vanilla, sweet syrup and ripe fruits. Complex and tasty, but perhaps not as perfectly balanced as XIV or XVI. Still excellent, though.
omhper (18350) - Tyresö, SWEDEN - AUG 23, 2013
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottled at PBF. Hazy mahogany colour, minimal head. Caramelly with plenty of oak and vanilla. Sweet with full body and cleqn, rounded mouthfeel. Caramel, bourbon and honey. White pepper heats a mid bitter finish.
DrSilverworm (4021) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - AUG 5, 2013
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
22oz bottle I got from a trade last year, I believe from cbkschubert. Shared with caterwaul. Mostly clear very dark red / brown color. Thin khaki head. Few dots and ropes of lace. Really nice, rich, complex potent aroma in the nose. Big vanilla, dark fruit, light spice, oak in the nose. Good caramel candy flavor, in a good way. Hint of chocolate. I was nervous to break this open, because when I had 14, it was boozy as hell and very hard to drink. Thankfully, this has none of that boozy hotness, what a relief. In fact, the alcohol is shockingly well-hidden, drinks the smoothest of any 12.5% Firestone Walker beer I’ve had yet. Just a nice light pleasant warmth, very little. Bigger, chewy body. Smooth, creamy, light carbonation. Full body, but a lightly dry, warming finish. It’s the perfect amount of alcohol, super great body, texture, and finish. Moderate sweet taste, light to moderate bitter. Seeing the honey, light ginger, light cinnamon brown sugar, vanilla custard notes in this. More pronounced chocolate. Hop notes are very subtle, just a little bit of citrus, definite orange zest to all the rich, darker notes. Can’t pick out anymore hop besides that, but it seems to contribute a very balance to it all. Wow. Fucking amazing beer, one of the best I’ve ever had. Incredibly complex, a true liquid work of art.
Getbetter (660) - Cucamonga, California, USA - JUL 17, 2013
3.2 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
From a bottle.The pour is dark tan in color with a medium body and a minimum white head.A tanging sweet taste with a dark fruit note,butterscotch and vanilla.
MartinT (7307) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 14, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
My Bottom Line:
Deep residual sugars share caramel, dried dates and milk chocolate, while alcohol heat and roasted angles build complexity.
Further Personal Perceptions:
-A veil of foam rests atop the shiny ruby-hued brown.
-The mouthfeel is undeniably rich.
-Black bean allusions are also tasted.
-You could call this a Black Barley Wine and get away with it.
-In the super heavyweight category, this one’s a winner.