KickInChalice (860) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 15, 2012
4.3 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
From notes. First reviewed 12/26/2011. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter.
The appearance of this beer is more similar to an old ale than a barleywine. A dark chocolate brown is a bit transparent in the thinner parts of the glass. A small off-white head struggles to form originally and fades to nothing fairly quickly.
The aroma simply bursts out of the glass. Tons of vanilla, caramel, bourbon, oak, and a bit of spice.
The flavor starts out with a very nice and complex gooey caramel that never gets too intense or cloying. A bit of roasted malt, some spice, and then a smooth bourbon, vanilla, and oak presence that carries through the finish. Incredibly smooth and balanced.
Although the alcohol is well-hidden in the flavor, the alcohol creates a tingling sensation on my tongue and warms the back of my throat and stomach. The carbonation is pretty much perfect; creamy and moderate. Definitely on the full side of the body spectrum. Slightly sticky.
This is not one of those beers that has nearly infinite separate components; it is a relatively simple beer that is made impressively well. The bourbon really accentuates the wonderful flavors and adds some complexity itself.
Ernesto987 (3227) - Connecticut, USA - MAR 14, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Fuxk this is impressive. Same barrel aging as firestone parabola. Big sweet barley wine and one if my favorite barrel aging treatments
nyindiansfan (463) - rochester, New York, USA - MAR 12, 2012
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle from 2011 pours a dark red brown with a small white head that goes away rather fast not much lacing. Smells and tastes of caramel, alcohol, soy sauce, bourbon,resin, medium sweetness, medium bitterness, medium body, sticky, average carbonation. Really nice smell and flavor on this. Has the nice caramel start with the bourbon in the middle finished with a slight resin hop bit to finish. Warms as it goes down to stomach. I wish I had more.
obguthr (3385) - Lynchburg, Virginia, USA - MAR 11, 2012
2.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
Bourbon dominated nose with vanilla, oak, and a strange fishy smell underneath. I swear this is a clean glass. Clear garnet, thin tan head. Flavor is less dominated by bourbon, but it is certainly present. Oak and maraschino cherry notes are more to the forefront. Plum also present. Boozy and full bodied. carbonation is easy. Abrupt, yet brief grassy finish. Very complex as is the norm with Firestone Walker. Quite sweet. I’d prefer it to be less boozy, drier, and hoppier.
Ernest (6012) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAR 11, 2012
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Head is initially small, frothy, light brown, mostly diminishing.
Body is dark brown.
Aroma is moderately malty (caramel, molasses), with notes of sherry, maple syrup, brown sugar, bourbon, alcohol, wood, vanilla, tobacco.
Flavor is heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter.
Finish is moderately sweet, lightly acidic, lightly to moderately bitter.
Medium to full body, syrupy/watery texture, lively carbonation, moderately to heavily alcoholic.
Well...it has the expected traits that score big points among most beer geeks...lots of alcohol, lots of sugar, and bourbon. If our subculture can be pegged for anything, it’s for liking "big". And this is certainly that. It does have at least some depth and elegance underneath the primary sugary notes, though, so it’s not just a dumb sugar-bomb. It attempts to balance the syrupy sweetness with booze more so than bitterness, but even so it’s still not all the way to being cloying...fatiguing, yes, but not Bruery kind of icky. So, it’s a mixed bag...not my kind of barleywine, but in this vein you can certainly do a lot worse.
baraciisch (1505) - USA - MAR 11, 2012
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Deep ruby in color... Aroma is oak, bourbon... Flavor is extremely complex, notes of tobacoo, alcohol, sugars, oak, dates.... Very nice beer...
VivasBeer (2) - Michigan, USA - MAR 10, 2012 does not count
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
My first Rate ever! COOL
Looks pretty dark, reddish when held up to light. Light off white head that dissipates to a ring for awhile then disappears forever.
Smell is a bourbon bomb. Vanilla comes through but mostly boozy, bourbon whiskey.
Taste is bourbon, booze, heat, bourbon, bourbon, vanilla, bourbon, caramel and some malt. Did I mention Bourbon?
Mouthfeel is ok, a bit thin I think. Not as sticky as I would have liked.
Overall this is good if you like the fresh heat and very prominent bourbon taste. Look forward to stashing one for a year or two
MartinT (7482) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAR 10, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
My Bottom Line:
Strawberry jam, wood, caramel and alcohol heat coalesce in this classy behemoth, as leafy hop bitterness builds a levelled finish.
Further Personal Perceptions:
-A ring of foam circles the blood red.
-The soft effervescence gives a lot of room for the malts to express themselves.
-The mouthfeel is not too fat, which I appreciate. I would not call this a lean Barley Wine either though…
-The flavor profile may be powerful, but all flavors remain in line.
-This was not a most mémorable Barley Wine, but it remained a mighty efficient example of the style.
jstraw (1880) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 9, 2012
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bomber at Jerry’s. Dark amber with whispy tan head / Big nose of coconut, oak, toffee, chocolate / Full body, sweet, slightly hot but with good balance and long finish / Flavors of semi-sweet chocolate, toffee, butterscotch, dark cherry, dates, coconut, hazelnuts, oak, and bourbon / Fantastic. Give it a year.
wedgie9 (1737) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - MAR 7, 2012
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Abacus 2011 Version
Tasted on 3/7/12 from a 650mL bomber bottle purchased at Sun Devil. Pours an opaque dark amber with a thin tan head that leaves thin, even lace. The nose is dominated by caramel, toffee, coconut, and vanilla bourbon, with tons of oak, and a touch of sweet, wet tobacco and unidentifiable fruits. The flavor is just the same, with the dark fruits and wet tobacco, moving to caramel, toffee, vanilla, coconut, and oaky bourbon. The body is full and oily with just lighter than average carbonation and a long caramel, toffee, and oaky bourbon finish. At 13% alcohol, this beer is scary drinkable.