callmemickey (2475) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 8, 2012
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: MAR 1, 2013 A: Deep brown body with chestnut highlights. Think khaki skim. Only the faintest traces of lacing left here and there.
S: Bold and assertive. Caramel, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and dark fruits. The bourbon barrel treatment is restrained and complimentary of the base beer. Very nice.
T: Like the nose, the bourbon barrel treatment is wonderful. Second-use barrels kept the heat down, mellowed the bourbon, oak and vanilla, and smoothed the mouthfeel. You also get a bit of more chocolaty and roasted malt notes that are probably the result of the leftover Rare that had permeated the barrels. Otherwise, caramel, raisins, and toffee as expected.
M: Smooth, full bodied. Appropriately carbonated. The high ABV is pleasantly concealed.
O: A real winner. I was really impressed with the way the second use barrels impacted the end result. It was almost like this beer and been mellowing for a few years in the bottle rather than being a new release. Good job, Goose Island.
GMCC2181 (1498) - Newark, Delaware, USA - JAN 8, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle via SL.... Poured into a snifter.... dark red, almost black in color, no head.... Nose of alcohol, bourbon, malty sweetness with a fruity touch. Taste a nice big warming barley wine... Alcohol is noticable but very warming... bourbon clearly makes it presence know but not in a offensive way at all.... big malty sweet base followed by a some dark fruit notes. Body is low carbontion....sticky..oily... but not sugary sweet.... Overall: Great BarleyWine for a cold winters night!
jckp64 (356) - St Louis, Missouri, USA - JAN 4, 2012
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours dark amber with a tan ring for a head. Aroma is caramel malts, Bourbon, vanilla and toffee. Flavor is sweet caramel malts, vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar and oak. Has a very nice smooth finish with just enough bourbon. This beer is ready to drink now. Awesome barleywine.
17thfloor (2429) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JAN 4, 2012
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Wow. This is my kind of beer! I love it. I had no idea it would be this good or I would have hoarded so many bottles! The originator comes through, classic and well done barrel aging, not to strong in any area, equal rich dark chocolate, char, oak, bourbon, decadent caramel, some fading piney hops, very toasty, slightly acidic finish, delicious, so faintly sticky. Fizzy carbonation, easily drinkable, and so enjoyable
CaptainCougar (7129) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - DEC 31, 2011
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
22oz bottled on 10/8/11: Pours a mostly opaque dark mahogany with deep copper amber edges and a thin covering of beige head. It may be the darkest barley wine Iíve ever had. Has a sweet complex dark caramel and toffee nose with dark fruity esters and plenty of bourbon and vanilla character. Starts with good fullness, mild carbonation and rich chewy dark caramel malts with some lightly oxidized brown sugar, raisin and butterscotch (not the diacetyl kind) notes before a slightly warming, sweet bourbon vanilla oaky finish. This has a lot of similarities to the Bourbon County Stout, but still has the distinctive characteristics of an aged English-style barley wine. I really hope they make this one of their regular offerings, although Iíd prefer to see it in 12oz bottles.
Dogbrick (7585) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - DEC 30, 2011
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thanks to pest for sharing a bottle. The beer pours a dark brownish-amber color with a medium light beige head that recedes to an outer ring eventually. Partial rings of lacing on the glass. Aroma of bourbon, vanilla and dark malty. Rich and surprisingly smooth body with a subtle oaky bourbon character along with other spirits in the background. Flavors of vanilla, caramel malt, brown sugar and dark fruit as well. The finish is bourbon up front and leaves a figgy dark fruit aftertaste. Very good Barley Wine overall, not "hot" at all so I would be interested to try one that lays down a few years.
Mthhurley (2) - Naperville, Illinois, USA - DEC 30, 2011 does not count
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
The aroma on this BW is amazing and itís backed up by an incredible backbone. This is a fabulous beer.
polomagnifico (1202) - Saginaw, Michigan, USA - DEC 27, 2011
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. Aroma has notes of sweet caramel malts, brown sugar, vanilla, oak, almonds, smooth bourbon and a little licorice. Very dark brown hue with a small tan head that fully diminished and left no lace. Flavor is very sweet and lightly bitter. Palate is very full bodied and oily soft. Overall a wonderfully sweet and delicious barely wine that you can eat with a knife and fork. The bourbon is very well integrated and smooth. It doesnt overwhelm like most but rather it blends perfectly and adds another wonderful dimension to an already complex brew. Very malty with very little bitterness. A wonderful brew on a cold winters night. This is probably the best example of a bourbon barely wine done well. The BCS Rare version of a barely wine. Loved it!
GranvilleTim (1467) - Granville, Illinois, USA - DEC 26, 2011
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Dark pour with a thin tan head that dissapated quickly. Aroma was figs, dark fruits, raisons,and bourbon. Taste was low carbonation, smooth, thick/chewy. raisons, figs and bourbon. This beer was as tasty from the first sip till the last. I am glad I have plenty to see how it ages.
eaglefan538 (2851) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - DEC 26, 2011
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle, 13% version, thanks to Robert at SL! The pour was a full brown color with some ruby to orange hues and edges, off white to tan colored head, decent lacing. The aroma was full molasses, chocolate, faint bourbon, honey, vanilla. The flavor was strong molasses, chocolate, butterscotch, bourbon, vanilla, and honey. Wood notes with some subtle pine hops? and fruit notes. A really interesting brew, although as it warmed it did get a tad sticky, but a cool concent and way better done than many a bourbon / barrell aged brew!