ThisWangsChung (826) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - DEC 30, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
22 oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on Dec. 20, 2012.
A: Pours a murky copper color. The head is a one finger off-white shade featuring decent retention and a soft, creamy texture. Some nice lacing is left on the glass. The haziness isnít exactly appealing visually, but will likely translate into a surprisingly easy drinking barleywine.
S: Upon first whiff, I get a lot of bready, vaguely caramel-forward malts, which is supplanted by some aged leafy hops. Of course, the trick here is to let it warm up - that way, the subtle fruit esters (like cherries and apricots) will come out and add a welcome dimension to the beer. Iím also getting some notes of chocolate, brown sugar, and tobacco. The more I let this sit, the more interesting it becomes. In other words, just like how a barleywine should be.
T: A wave of bitterness opens things up, and is quite fleeting off the palate. Iím getting a lot of tobacco flavor from this beer, which quickly develops into chocolaty, fruity, and caramel-y notes. These flavors are more whispered than shouted It has a somewhat dry, mineral water finish. There are really light hints of alcohol, slowly coming out the more it warms up - again, adding to the experience rather than detracting. Every flavor here is integrated and balanced to near perfection; Iíll take that over something mindlessly complicated any day.
M: While itís not exactly light, itís shockingly crisp and dry on the finish. A lot of that has to do with how vibrant the carbonation is. I can tell itís a big, strong beer, but thereís absolutely nothing to suggest itís 10.2%. Itís definitely more drinkable than your run-of-the-mill DIPA, yet every bit as rich and decadent as a barleywine should be.
O: Oh man. This is a killer barleywine. Not only is it luxurious and complex, itís surprisingly drinkable and not overly sweet (which is a problem, even in good barleywines). Actually, I overstated itís drinkability...if only because I want to savor every last drop of it.
BoBoChamp (5755) - Gent, BELGIUM - NOV 3, 2014
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
65cl, at 10.2%Vol, American brew, thx alot to Dirk for sharing!, very complex bitter brew, heavily malty/alcoholic/bitter and slightly woody/fruity/sweet, yet balanced, hazy, good head, very good Winter brew
Hopmaestro (869) - ÷rebro, SWEDEN - NOV 3, 2014
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Aroma is complex, with malt, caramels, nuts, pine and grass. The taste is even more complex. At first it is sweet and mild, then thereís a solid hop presence coming up like a UFC-fighter punching you right in the kisser. There is a strong roughness in here, almost like a semi-drunk old sailor showing up at a wedding party uninvited. When the aftertaste sets in you get a hint of wood and also an alcohol presence that is more like a feeling than a flavor.
phikus (96) - syracuse, New York, USA - OCT 28, 2014
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
I recently scored two of these bottled December 2012. I wanted to save one but didnít. The hops still had their teeth but had softened into the malt a bit. Nice resinous pine hops with a well bslanced toffee malt fruitiness. I do not like when the malt of barleywine gives way to fruitiness instead of caramal toffee, but here they all come together.
Darkmagus82 (2093) - - OCT 16, 2014
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Transfer from BA review on 5-1-14-
Poured from bottle into a snifter
Appearance Ė The beer pours a deep crimson red color with a tiny head of fizzy, just off white foam. The brew looks thick even upon pouring sloshing in the snifter and sticking to the sides of the glass. The tiny head that was present upon pouring fades very fast leaving just some foam islands on the surface of the brew and a trace of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell Ė A big and boozy but quite pleasant and warming aroma is in this one. The rum-boozy bourbon smell is one of the heaviest, but is complemented by lots of big sweet aromas as well. Caramel is the heaviest of the sweet, but there is also a good deal of toffee and plenty of dark fruits with it consisting of cherry, raisin, plum and fig. With these aromas are some decent showings of a cocoa smell as well as a little bit of an earthy and herbal hop aroma.
Taste Ė The taste begins with a thick and bready flavor with some hints of a more roasted malt nature and a good dose of caramel sweetness. Along with the caramel are some flavors of dark fruit, consisting of the fruits that were detected in the nose; cherry, raisin, plum and fig. As the flavor advances the caramel transitions to a more buttery toffee flavor with the fruit flavors remaining rather constant. The bready flavors seem to dwindle ever so slightly but still remain a dominant taste in the profile. Around the middle of the flavor profile the booze starts to become noticeable. It is light at first having a more neutral boozy flavor. Along the same time some hop flavors begin coming to the tongue as well. The hop are mainly of a grapefruit flavor at first, but as the taste advances toward the end, other hops of an earthy and herbal nature join the flavor profile as well. Along with the increase in the hop, the boozy taste takes on more rum like qualities and gets quite a bit more potent toward the end. The newly augmented rum alcohol flavor, when mixed with the rest of the flavors, ends up leaving a nice warming and thick bready and somewhat more hoppy flavor to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel Ė The body of the beer thick and chewy with a carbonation level that is rather low. The feel is just about perfect for the style as it really soaks the tongue in all the boozy, bready, dark fruit, hopped and roasted flavors of the brew making them really stand out in a sea of big flavors. Well done.
Overall Ė This is a fantastic barleywine!!! Many are either too sweet or just a pure pack of burning booze. This one is fantastically balanced and drinkable with great flavor, feel and aroma. I would recommend.
eduardovl (1148) - SWITZERLAND - OCT 14, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
660ml bottle served in a snifter glass.
A: Pous a deep amber color forming a medium to small thin bubbled and creamy yellow head. Medium to low retention and many small spotty lavings left in the glass
S: Sweet. Strong notes of caramel, caramel malts, brown sugar and flowery hops. Booze
T: Sweet upfront. Strong notes of caramel and caramel malts. The sweet taste switches to bitter quite quickly. Nice bitter hoppy kick, anyway. Great bittersweet balance
M: Heavy, creamy and molasses body. Medium carbonation. Lovely smooth bittersweet aftertaste
O: Great drinkability. Perfect barleywine. World classic
[ BA Review @ 6/9/2013 ]
jw0406 (976) - atlanta, Georgia, USA - SEP 30, 2014
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
22 oz bomber pours a dark Amber color with a nice white head. Aromas of light pine, caramel malts, toffee. Full bodied, nicely done
Benzai (11364) - Oirschot, THE NETHERLANDS, NETHERLANDS - SEP 21, 2014
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle @ home thanks to Mista. Been looking forward to this for a while, so Iím hoping it will live up to my expectations although that shouldnít be a factor I know. Anyway. Nice, a bit hazy dark orange to ruby red color, medium sized dense creamy off-white to beige head that lasts for a decent while. Aroma is malts, hops, slightly alcohol, slightly sweet, a hint of sweetish resin. Taste malts, a touch of caramel, hops, some alcohol, resin, resinous bitter. Sticky texture, full body, medium carbonation. I like it when beers actually taste like the brewers say it will taste, and this is indeed a hefty hop forward barley wine. Delicious!
MarkinTex (2) - Texas, USA - AUG 24, 2014 does not count
2.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 9/20
Iím a big fan of barley wines, and Iím also not a total purist, so I can enjoy mergers of styles, like St. Arnoldís Weedwhacker or Karbachís Weiss-Versa. After tasting Old Ruffian I find the hops way too assertive. Hoppyness of that level works best in crisper beers, but there is simply way too much going on in your average barleywine in terms of flavor for this much hops. Even in Old Ruffian, which is less complex in other flavors and weaker in body than other Baleywines like, say, Libertyís Old Foghorn, or maybe because it is weaker and less complex, the over hopped character overwhelms the palate and blunts it to what more subtle flavors might be here. The aftertaste is also unpleasant, all bitterness with no lingering malty or toasty notes. This is a failed experience, the overdose of hops reminds me of foods that overdose on habanero or ghost pepper (and Iím a Texan mind you and can handle spicy), more for the gimmick of being that spicy and appealing only to people who want to brag about how macho they are that they can take the heat. Similarly, Old Ruffianís hoppyness seems like either a ruse to cover other shortcomings, or a gimmick meant too appeal to people who like to brag about how much hoppyness they can handle. It is also over carbonated for a barleywine, though it was able to remedy that by leaving it 24 hours with the cap pulled off and then put by hand to allow the carbonation to dissipate somewhat.
jsnicholas (436) - Woodinville, Washington, USA - AUG 23, 2014
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle (22oz): Bottles 9 months ago. Clear dark amber. Nice tan head faded with a lot of lacing. Lots of hops as advertised, bitters was not too much.. Medium plus body. Some sweetness. Quite good, but a little more hops than I normally like in a barley wine.