SamGamgee (2451) - down the whirlpool, California, USA - AUG 25, 2009
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
12oz bottle. Deep red-amber color with a small, light beige head. Big fruity malt aroma, with some caramel, dried figs and light hops. The flavor is so bitter that almost no malt comes through, just bitterness and a vague herbal hop flavor. Bitter to the point of harsh astringency on the palate. This one just really did not agree with me at all. Maybe a few years would have helped mellow things, but I already got a hint of oxidation in the aroma.
illidurit (2243) - San Francisco, California, USA - AUG 23, 2009
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle courtesy of SamGamgee. Pours a slightly hazy amber-orange with an ecru head. Aroma is caramel-based with hop notes of orange and grapefruit, some woodiness, and a little nuttiness. Flavor is woody and earthy in addition to the sweet caramel/toffee from the nose. Bitter lingering finish, somewhat tannic and astringent. Maybe a little too ambitious with the hopping here.
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - AUG 8, 2009
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
12oz bottle courtesy of dave12285, unknown vintage, poured into a tulip.
Pours a murky caramel brown with a deep amber look when held up to light. There is a small cream-colored head that maintains a small collar and a bit of bubbles strung along the top.
The aroma is dominated by caramel malts and toffee sweetness. There isnít much in the way of hops left in this one - maybe some faint citrus if anything. As it warms, I can definitely pick up some chocolate malts and a slight sherry character overall. Great nose.
The taste isnít quite as solid with a less dominant sweetness than the aroma. The hops arenít present and have given way to a slight cardboard bitterness in the finish.
The mouthfeel is where this one falls slightly short for me as itís a little watery on the palate. Itís got a low soft carbonation and lacks the thickness necessary to carry the flavor with that low carbonation.
The nose had me excited, but the taste didnít quite deliver and the mouthfeel was definitely a let down. Still, a good barleywine that has probably just seen better days.
Cletus (6355) - Connecticut, USA - AUG 5, 2009
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours gold with a thin white head. Smells of sweet malt, pepper, some warming alcohol, hints of dark fruit, some sweet citrusy hints. Tastes of molasses, caramel, some fruity hints, spicy.
msante79 (2215) - Mount Prospect, Illinois, USA - AUG 5, 2009
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
12oz bottle from Wadeís Wines in Woodland Hills. Pours clear golden amber with small off-white head. Aroma is loaded with sweet malt and booze with some caramel. Flavor is light with sweet malt, caramel, hops, and some spices. Was expecting an over the top barley wine based on the aroma but mouthfeel is pretty thin for this style. Not a bad tasting ale by any means, but was just expecting a little more flavor wise.
JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - JUL 1, 2009
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
22oz bottle from 2006. Hazy pour, somewhere between deep gold and pale orange. Sharp yeasty scent and an abundance of booziness suffuse the malts that otherwise dominate the nose. Bready malts, a bit too chewy, in the flavor. Hops almost completely gone, and a fair bit of oxidation is detectable. Mouthfeel a bit thin as well. Best sample fresh, I reckon.
VertBaconStrips (2179) - Asshat, Alberta, CANADA - JUN 14, 2009
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: NOV 17, 2009 ****re-review of the 2006 vintage - 3yrs aged*** - note: does not compare to drinking this fresh. flavours mellowed out but the alcohol seemed stronger and it tacked any endearing qualities - a worthy learning experiment!
****re-review on the 2006 vintage - October 13, 2008***
Mellowed out, smelt like peat out of the bottle, fairly easy drinking but lacked any real depth. Not a 3.8 after 2yrs of aging.
Iíve been sitting on this beer for well over a year and today is the day to finally get to it. I probally should have drank at least one fresh, but too late for that now. Poured out a small tan head with little retention - nice lacing though! Spotty and not going anywhere. More brown than red, the colour is quite nice and clear as I did not pour in the entire bottle. Aromas is pretty nice and fresh even after all this time. Aroma is a good mix of malt, wood, nutty (search for it and you will find it), sweet cherries, cirtus, a slight spice (whatever it is) and probally a bunch more but I canít really make it out due to the compexity of this. At different times, the grapefruit / citrus aroma of the hops is the first thing you get. Just poured out the rest of the bottle and there was near zero sediment. Aroma is very smooth just like the flavour. Is the flavour almost too soft? The large bitterness has faded due to the large presence of tons of malts. Taste is extremely full and soft. The massive somewhat bready malts are so huge that I am having a hard time finding specific flavours, but blended all together have made for an incredibly easy drinking 10% beer. Grapefruit, spice (something liccorice like, but not licorrice (sp.??)), candy, a retarded ammount of malts...shit - I donít know - it just keeps changing every sip...savage - all while remaining very smooth. I havenít forgotten about the hops, but at the temperature that Iím draining this at, the malts are superior. The hops have been relegated to the end of the mouthfull. I can notice some wood in the aftertaste along with the lengthy bitterness that is combined nicely with the malts giving a nice aftertaste. Nearing full bodied. Leviathan at room temperature is amazingly mild. No notice of the 10% at all except in my typing skills as I had to do some serious editing on this after dropping back the entire 650ml in about 40 minites. I have more in my cellar that I will open in, oh, 2009. A wonderful beer. Buy some and cellar it.
Adam77 (457) - Eastampton, New Jersey, USA - JUN 11, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Poured dark amber with no head. Aroma of fruit and caramel. Good sweet caramel character with some fruit hints.
Cirrhosis (1262) - Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA - JUN 8, 2009
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Dark honey brown body with slight orange showing through, hazy looking in the glass not cloudy but thereís a definite haze. Rocky light tan colored head capped off this brew didnít really have great retention though but a skiff still remained on top, lots of bubble columns are rising up from the bottom of the glass they look pretty. Appearance just got an upgrade at the bottom of the bottle there was a ton of sediment my beer is now cloudy not hazy. Very nutty aroma combined with dark bitter smelling malts, noticeable hops are giving the beer a nice citrusy smell. The aroma is good not to weak and not overpowering I really like it, it seems to smell gets sweeter the more the beer warms in my glass. Good malty bitter taste, combined with wood and nuts, the alcohol is defiantly noticeable in the finish and this gave the beer a nice warm feel. Perfect amount of hops in the brew not overpowering the taste but still giving it some zing, the beer finishes sweet but leaves a mild bitter after taste, maybe even some darker tasting fruits in here YUMMY. Perfect beer, smooth, tasty and very high quality, too bad it only comes in 650ml bottles these just arenít big enough."
otakuden (1783) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - MAY 21, 2009
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Growing up right on the river and a short walk from the ocean, fishing, the ocean, and sunny days at the beach were the daily routine. Summers were spent cruising the ocean depths with my dad and family, trolling for dolphin, wahoo, and other various game fish. Or maybe it is a day to drop some lines down to the coral depths to bring in some chunky grouper and feisty snapper. Iíll hold on the sharks though, please. Anyone who has fished, or hunted for ye land-locked lubbers, knows there is no tale as large as a fishermanís tale. Of course, I now have the theme song for Gilliganís Island stuck in my head, but that is a tale for another time. What is real and sitting in front of me though is the Fish Tale Ales Leviathan, a Barleywine-style Ale from Batch #5, November 2004. An aged barleywine is always a beautiful catch, and I canít wait to dive into her tangible depths. No fish tales here, just the real deal.
Cloudy, dirty brown with an invasion of dreggy bits free-floating for an impressive picture. A few random pockets of bubbles float lazily upon her surface while some swirls brings up a faint frothing of foam, but that fades just as quickly. No worries though, as it becomes rather apparent a large head would have just gotten in the way of her nose as it crashes upon my shores. Floral with soft leather right from the start while a hot spike of alcohol hits right in the back of my nose. Brown sugars, cinnamon, and all spice give way to a pronounced crunch of candied sugar. Now that I have the Leviathan in my clutches, it is time to see what she is made of. As I ravage her body, I am slowly consumed by a glowing, sweet warmth exuding brown sugar and spices. Leather sits on top of my tongue and serves as a welcome moisture deterrent to my palate while further notes of maple and molasses are sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg. The warmth and kick of alcohol I was slapped with in the nose is nowhere evident in the body which is a bit of a disappointment. It would appear that time has lessened her punch, but in return a whole new ocean of flavors has risen from her abyssal depths. A touch flat as I reach the surface, but nonetheless, I am happy with my catch.
The Fish Tale Ales Leviathan, Barleywine-style Ale, Batch #5, November 2004 from Fish Brewing told an impressive story if one listened to her nose. While the follow through was a bit flat, overall I would say that time was kind and gentle to this barleywine. I think I got her at the tippy-top of her peak. Honestly, any more time and she would have started going downhill. This fish ale is real, I promise.