davey101 (751) - Connecticut, USA - JAN 11, 2012
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: NOV 9, 2012 Bottled on 10/08/2011 0908. 22 oz bomber into an over sized wine glass at cellar temperature.
A - Extremely dark red body. Its almost black its so dark. Doesnít let much light pass through. 2 finger dark khaki head lasted about 30 seconds before fizzing away into some random spotches and some light edging. Nice alcohol legs. Looks like a typical barley wine.
S - Huge bourbon presence. Very hot and intense, but pleasant and inviting. This is followed by sweet caramelized figs and raisins. Theres some light but complex notes of chocolate, molasses, and woody oak happening in the background. Crazy smooth vanilla rich bourbon aroma just steals the show though. Perfect aroma.
T - Starts with some biting alcohol. Vanilla and oak followed by a very sweet malt and dark caramelized fruit backbone. Not as complex as the nose, but theres still a lot of stray flavors happening here. Some toffee, caramel, and bittersweet chocolate. Very rich and sweet. The aftertaste is filled with perfectly mellow and smooth bourbon notes. I can feel the heat in the back of my throat, but its very easy to drink.
M - Medium to thick body with a nice low level of carbonation allowing it to drink extremely well. Really oily and smooth. The alcohol heat is there but doesnít interfere at all.
O - Does it live up to the hype? Absolutely! Is it the best beer of 2011? I donít think it is. It is one of the best barrel aged beers I have tried, and hands down the best barley wine Iíve had though. Stupidly good and worth the hassle of landing a bottle.
hombrepalo (1971) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JAN 8, 2012
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 16, 2013 1300th rating and it was excellent! Pours a dark blackish/brown color with a finger of off-white head. Rich bourbon aroma as well as plenty of dark fruits such as raisins and plums. A strong flavor of bourbon, vanilla, and caramel. Heavy on the brown sugar and toffee as well as some dark fruit notes. A thick full bodied with medium carbonation. Overall excellent and I wish I had more bottles.
arminjewell (9262) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - JAN 8, 2012
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JAN 16, 2012 Rating #2300 from notes, big, big thanks to Caleb for this pour from 22 oz bottle. Hazy dark ruby reddish pour with thin off white head, aroma has notes of nice bourbon and vanilla notes that are there but slightly muted a bit, nice caramel, toffee, dark fruits and slight chocolate-y notes in there, nice molasses in there as well. Taste is great, a nice mix of caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon and sweet molasses notes coat the mouth well, with slight bittering earth and dark fruits in there, really nice slight hints of grass, finishes fairly dry no alcohol in there. Fantastic stuff, and definitely should be drank ASAP!
callmemickey (4285) - 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 (1591) - 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 (2443) - 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 (7133) - 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 (11614) - 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.