bhensonb (11669) - Woodland, California, USA - AUG 2, 2006
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Batch 64. Evergreen/wood, yeast, alcohol, floral spice aromas. Hazy dark apricot color with light white lacing. Starts with oak, moving through apricot with light sweetness, possibly some cardamom, ending with bitter mingling with wood. The bitter persists, and it is reminiscent of the aftertaste of an aged zinfandel or cab - but not grape notes. Really wonderfully unique.
BigBastard (668) - L.A., California, USA - JUL 31, 2006
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
I think this could age a bit longer. As others have stated the oak was very noticeable in the flavor and aroma. Thick and syrupy barley wine flavor still came through though. Good overall, but maybe a little young.
MI2CA (1340) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - JUL 31, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sample at Indy tasting Dickís 96th - Aroma is strong alcohol, bourbon, oak, and yeast. Pours cloudy orange with small head and good lacing. Flavor matches aroma but a little too much oak for me. Some age would do nicely. Palate is tart. Very nice and I would really like one for my cellar...please.
Philip (436) - Illinois, USA - JUL 30, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle courtesy of Rob, a great friend and beer sommelier. :) Pours an expected cloudy orange brown with notes of caramel and vanilla on the nose. A lot of vanilla and wood on the palate when consumed at room temperature, although cold I noticed far more hops. Obviously this is considerably better warmed. Probably needs a few more years to settle, but still its drinking well. Dates and toffee on the palate with some citrus. A fine finish. Well done. Not as exceptional as the ratings might indicate (back in its day when oaked aged barleywines were a bit of a novelty, I could see this commanding very high ratings, but the novelty has faded since).
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 30, 2006
4.4 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: AUG 5, 2008 my dear lord! This was like the Hitachino japanese classic but in Barley-Wine form and a hell of a lot more refined and sophisticated. I know it wasnít aged in Cedar, but the wood comes out so damn strong that it might as well been cedar...Super dry juicy apricot aromas and flavors are a result of the wood aging. This is da bomb!
PhillyBeer2112 (2564) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - JUL 28, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Big woody aroma, smells of freshly cut lumber, either oak or pine. I think maybe some piney hops are contributing to that character. But thereís a nice malt presence here, full bodied, caramelized, bready and warming with a tingle of alcohol in the finish (but otherwise well balanced alcohol presence, esp for a 10% beer). Some resiny hop flavors float around the middle of this one, and a big hopping comes through in the bitter finish. Slightly astringent/husky. Otherwise a nice big barleywine that makes good use of oak aging. Very cloudy amber-brown with a medium foaming head that faded quickly, with minimal lacing.
Ty5592 (1018) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 28, 2006
2.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
There was something seriously wrong with this beer. It had a sour smell with an even worst vinegar taste. I could taste some wood, but the taste was mainly vinegar. I would surmise that yeast infection is the culprit. Like a real man I finished the whole bottle though.
gputty (456) - Virgina Beach, Virginia, USA - JUL 26, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Tasting at Immyís. From 12oz bottle. Pours a pale orange with minimal head. Nose is full of bourbon, oak, hints of citrus and vanilla. Flavor follows. Very nice stuff.
Pailhead (5192) - Brownstown, Michigan, USA - JUL 24, 2006
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAR 19, 2008 Bottle: Courtesy of Styles. Aroma is very vinous and has a big oak character. Behind all of the vinous oaky notes is some faint fruit and caramel. Hazy orangish-red with a small off-white head. Flavor starts with some sweet caramel, toffee, and fruit. Finish has a very strong oak presence that leaves a bitterness on the tongue for a while. Very tasty, but if some aging could tone down the oak a tad, it would be beneficial. (8-4-8-4-17)
Another bottle courtesy of Styles and a re-rate almost one year later. Absolutely love the aroma. The vinous notes are still there, but have become more muted. The caramel and fruit have increased significantly in the nose along with some notes of honey. The oak presence is about the same. Alcohol is there just enough to make itís presence felt. The appearance is about the same, but this one isnít quite as hazy. Flavor has lots of caramel, toffee, and faint honey up front. Very nice banana bread presence in the middle. The oak has definitely mellowed quite a bit, and thatís a plus for me as I found it a tad strong when sampled fresh. There are some very mild citrus hops that I didnít notice previously. Nice creamy mouthfeel with very soft carbonation. A great beer to begin with and itís really improved with age.
cbkschubert (2900) - BFE, Arizona, USA - JUL 23, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JUL 6, 2007 12 oz. bottle batch 64 - Pours a hazy amber color with a faint off white head. Light spotty lacing. Very light, fine carbonation bubbles. Aroma is sweet and very oaky. Strong oak, vanilla, and mild fruit flavor. Very nice. The oak dominates the aftertaste. Actually, it dominates the beer from start to finish. It (alcohol) warms the stomach a little. This beer should be awesome a year from now. Looking forward to a re-rate.<P>Re-rate almost a year later (7/07). Batch 64. Aroma remains sweet and full of esters. The oak in the flavor has diminished some, but not alot. Some of the doughy malt flavor is starting to come through like it does in most HotD beers. The alcohol is still there, but doesnít seem to be as noticeable this time around. I bumped the OV score to 18 this time around. I think this beer can get better with another year. See ya next July.