peteinSD (1364) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 12, 2011
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 19/20
Slight initial head fading to a ring of foam hugging the glass. Deep, transparent dark red color. Aroma is a rich and cohesive chewy marshmallow, coconut, vanilla, polished bourbon, soft oak, and a touch of raisin/date barley wine underneath. Holy hell there is a lot going on with this beer! Dark cherry and tobacco in the flavor with thick and raw bourbon, vanilla, and a fairly tight barley wine malt profile. Thick and decadent feel in the mouth. Prickly alcohol lingers with the bourbon/barley wine notes after each sip. No doubt about it this is a big, ass kicking beer but Firestone pulls it off with a smooth and complex presentation. Absolute stunner.
CheersMate (1309) - Fremont (Seattle), Washington, USA - MAR 10, 2011
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
22 oz. bottle from Full Throttle Bottles. This had a fluffy head, for about two seconds; now, itís just thin and wispy. It has a dark brown body that looks wonderful. This smells great. It smells of strong vanilla, coconut, chocolate, and sweet bourbon. This has a very pungent aroma that is very pleasing. Lots of sweet coconut at first. After the coconut, Iím getting a light caramel, sugar, vanilla, coconut, and bourbon flavor. Itís a bit hot; thatís to be expected. This has a very rich texture this is quite viscous, relative to other beers. The booze detracts from the quality. Itís annoyingly hot at some points. It has a lot of different dimensions. A subtle hint of oak comes through at the end. There are bits of that dark cherry coming through at the end, as the description says. This is very good, and heavily influenced by their use of barrels.
5000 (6265) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - MAR 4, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Botle:   Deep burnt brown sugar, brownish of sorts, dark burnt caramel hues, thin to moderate off-white head, foamy, sparce lacing.   Huge graham cracker aroma, bourbon, vanilla, and just overall super super malty.   Some slight chocolate covered cherries, in a very alcoholic way.   The heat is very noticeable.   Yeah, this one has some heat on it.   Body and mouthfeel are fairly big.   How can it not be?!   Strong malty and biscuity finish, loads of Bourbon, vanilla, and graham cracker.   Hop profile is minor.   This is one malty example.   Oh, and this one is sweet beyond most others!   Strong bourbon and vanilla on a bed of graham cracker.   This one isnít overly hoppy, instead its a huge malty sweet bourbon and vanilla styled example.   I am finding it difficult to write about this one because it is just simply kicking my ass.   This one breaks a lot of the rules.   Holy piss is this good!
bhensonb (10978) - Woodland, California, USA - FEB 25, 2011
4.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Tap at Samuel Horne. Pours very black with a slight creamy head. Aroma is mostly malty with light darkish fruit hints. Full bodied. It is sweet with lots of dark fruit - more cherry than date. Bourbon and fruit. Could be some floral hop. Oak seems blended in. It finishes sweet but not sticky. Liquid food. Fruit juice du jour. Lovin it.
badlizard (5539) - Berkeley, California, USA - FEB 19, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Black with no head. Sweet chocolate molasses and candy sugar aroma and taste.
sistinas (101) - Mountain View, California, USA - FEB 17, 2011
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at the Rose and Crown in Palo Alto (after narrowly missing a Pliny the Younger tapping... doh). Poured black with a sizable, slowly dissipating head. Smelled sweet with figs and raisins. The initial taste was similar, with notes of vanilla, bourbon, and fruit, and it finished with a surprising coconut aftertaste. Mouthfeel was thick and very smooth. This is probably the best barleywine Iíve ever had, and I think one of the reasons I liked it was because it didnít have any overwhelming hoppy bitternesss to it, nor did it have any heat from the alcohol. Delicious and well done.
savnac (2391) - Anchorage, Alaska, USA - NOV 21, 2010
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap @ Stone. Hazy copper with a small beige head. Aroma of dates, bourbon, caramel, toffee and wood. The flavor is caramel flan, bourbon, dark fruit with some sharp wood notes. Medium to full body with mild carbonation and a long finish. Very nice malty English style Barley Wine, lots of dark fruit and the bourbon flavors are at the perfect level.
JohnnyJ (4325) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 6, 2010
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft at Stone at the 14th release. Medium brown/amber pour, off-white head. Caramel malts, milk chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and oak. The flavors are very complex and complement well. A very nice barleywine.
tokyogoat (1503) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 17, 2010
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Might be one of the best beers iíve ever had, iíd quite possibly punch my mom for another drank. Huge milk chocolate flavor, no noticable heat, body was thick enough to hold the flavor, thin enough not to be cloying, somewhat one note, but depth to the chocolate flavor and roast. iíd say its the west coast sexual chocolate.
FlacoAlto (3800) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUN 15, 2010
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Sampled at 1702, Tucson; April 2010
This beer arrives from the tap with a dark, concentrated amber / brown color that shows a clearíish hue in the light. It is topped by a thin, creamy textured, dark tan to amber-tinged colored head. Bourbon aromatics jump out at me from the get-go; notes of vanillin, coconut, a hint of woody spiciness, lots of oak-wood like fresh cut plank aromas and even a touch of alcohol heat are noticeable. The aroma is quite nice, but leaves me wondering were the aromatics from the base beer are.
The beer is sweet tasting as it first hits my mouth, with a viscous, chewy character that finishes with a hot alcohol and Bourbon spiciness that lingers on the palate; it actually does remind me of sipping on Bourbon. There are lots of flavors reminiscent of vanilla and toasted coconut; wow, the Bourbon barrel really just completely dominates this beer. Luckily the malt is big and sweet enough to carry all the barrel character, but you better really like Bourbon if you are going to enjoy this beer. The base beer really plays a subservient role here. The Barley Wine does contribute a lush texture, with caramelized malt sweetness and some toasted malt character. The beer finishes with a really spicy, almost hot at times, peppery barrel character that lingers on the palate for quite some time.
The vanillin and coconut notes are nice in this beer and it is well accentuated by the malt sweetness, but this is too hot and too Bourbon dominated in the end. If you really like Bourbon then I can see this being quite the enjoyable tipple, but it is perhaps a bit too much for me.