Mittenator (873) - Michigan, USA - FEB 13, 2013
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
This is a decent barleywine but way too expensive for what you get. There are some sweet candy flavors that are overpowered by hot booziness (apparent both from the bottle and on draft). I now have two extra bottles I am hoping will be better in a few years. I bought into the hype because it's made by one of my favorite breweries and one of my favorite styles but this really underwhelmed me.
mcox90 (1374) - Wilton, New Hampshire, USA - FEB 11, 2013
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle. Pours a clear, bright red/copper color with just a wisp of an off white ring for a head. Wonderful sweet aroma with notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, maple and a hint of fruity hops. Didnít get any bourbon in the aroma. Bourbon is more evident in the flavor and it compliments all the sweetness. Smooth, heavy gut warming palate with almost zero carbonation. With a couple years on it, this will be outstanding.
eachnotesecure (58) - Kentucky, USA - FEB 10, 2013
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
750ml bottle poured into Cigar City snifter. Served a little bit cold, pours a golden color and the initial aroma is still of hops. As it warms however, the barrel really shows up nicely and you get some maple syrup, butterscotch and just a little bit of hoppiness. Again, Founders has knocked it out of the park. I canít wait to open my other bottle in about a year.
ineedbeer (428) - Oakland, California, USA - FEB 7, 2013
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Aroma is dominated by caramel malt notes with complimenting vanilla and raisin. As it warms the bourbon and hops become more noticeable. The alcohol also becomes more noticeable as it warms but never reaches a hot level. Esters also become more pronounced.
Pours a fairly clear burnt amber with a light tan head that quickly recedes leaving a film in the center and edges. Faint lacing with long legs.
Flavor starts with some sweet caramel notes - caramel, burnt sugar, raisins and plums. Mid palate the barrel quality appears, bourbon and vanilla. The finish has some slightly astringent hop bitterness and light hop flavor. The finish has quite a bit of alcohol heat along with some residual sweetness and lingering bitterness. The finish is where this beer currently falls apart.
Mouthfeel is full bodied with low carbonation. The astringency is moderate and fairly unpleasant. The alcohol heat is moderately high but fairly clean.
For all the complaints this beer gets it is surprisingly good. As it ages the alcohol heat and the astringency should mellow out. The finish is a bit slick as well which will hopefully get a bit better.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
VALIS (210) - Nashua, New Hampshire, USA - FEB 6, 2013
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: FEB 7, 2013 Deep amber color, almost cherry, moist lacing. Sweet brown sugar aroma, also hints of wood and grass. Very sweet taste as well, alcohol warmth on the roof of the mouth, boozy finish, slightly oakey. A well-made beer but not so much in my style. I have another bottle Iíll age for a year or more, hopefully mellow out the sweetness a little?
**Update: I slowly sipped at it over the course of the night, unwilling to pour its $23 contents down the drain, and as it warmed towards room temperature it became even sweeter and stickier on the palate, unfortunately. A chore to finish.
ryecatcher (545) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - FEB 6, 2013
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
750mL bottle (purchased on Black Friday 2012, drinking on the occasion of National Letter of Intent Day 2013... Go Buckeyes!)
Into the snifter we go! Pours a thick and hazy amber-orange with a slight head that dissipated quickly, no lacing to speak of. Nose is heavy on the caramel, some candied orange, hints of vanilla and maple (i.e. smells sweet). Mouth is full-bodied (thick is a good adjective here), with a lot of syrupy sweetness up front mingled with a hoppy bitterness (meaning Iím going to have a headache after finishing this off in the next hour). Getting some peaches, orange, caramel, grass and some maple notes at the very tail end. Finish is still sweet but with a long, lingering bitterness. Iíve grown to appreciate barley wines, butgiven my druthers I still prefer the American variety (drier, hoppier) over the English-styled version (sweeter) which this one is. Still, was worth the wait on that cold-ass Friday morning waiting in line outside South Loop Binnyís... and THE Ohio State Buckeyes had one hell of a recruiting class sign today, so this was a good one to celebrate with! ;-)
douglas88 (5152) - Portland, Oregon, USA - FEB 6, 2013
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle thanks to Beau. Pours a bright and somewhat cloudy golden/amber color with a small white head. A nice fruity nose with caramel and huge sweet malts. A really nice flavor leaning heavily toward the English super sweet barley wine flavors, caramel, maple syrup, vanilla. The balance is achieved with lots of fresh fruit and hops. Very balanced and not as hot as one might think. Excellent.
zach8270 (3047) - Henrietta, New York, USA - FEB 4, 2013
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
(bottle - 750 ml - Night of the Titans 2013) Lightly hazy copper pour with a puffy white head. Sweet aroma. Lots of malt, toffee, caramel and a bit of toasted nuts. Flavor is sweet as well, though not as sweet as I wouldíve expected. Sweet malts and toffee at the start gives way to a rather firm bitterness near the end and a mild bitter hop aftertaste that blends with the sweetness. Enjoyable, but could be better with some age.
MikeJslc (636) - USA - FEB 3, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Copper, slight chill haze, persistent tan head. Aroma of toffee, a little leather, grainy malt. Flavor of toasted malt and toffee, some nutty character, firm bitterness and resiny hop flavor, some leathery age from barrel, very good.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
drowland (5694) - Valdosta, Georgia, USA - FEB 3, 2013
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Rating #4600! Eh, itís the closest thing to a milestone I have in my backlog. On tap at Rock Island Brewing Company. Amber pour with almost no head. Sweet caramel and molasses on the aroma with plenty of oak, vanilla, bourbon, and more... seems overly sweet. Super sweet flavor with maple, bourbon, caramel, molasses, dark sugars, and more sweetness. Lots of good aspects, but very sweet.