jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - JUL 23, 2003
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 3, 2004 Fred is labeled as a "Golden Special Ale". At 10% abv and using 10 different hop varieties I would agree that it is indeed something special. It was also a nice golden color as promised by the name. My bottle possibly suffered some shaking at some point in its life as the head was out of control. It took me 5 minutes plus to pour the thing. Even then it took a wee while before it abated enough to even think about drinking it. Aroma was nice, I could smell those hops as well as a generous helping of malts. Taste plenty of hops, a good round malt nose. The bottle had a nice layer of yeast sediment in it proving that this is a bottle conditioned ale. At 10% abv I was worried that it might be a little bit harsh, but it was not at all. The bottle copy says that the beer is made with 10 different hop varieties from 5 different countries. I believe it, the hop complexity is amazing. There are very floral hops in there (cascades?) as well as some traditional European hops (Saaz?). Regardless of the exact ingredient list this is a beer well worth seeking out.
BillKismet (3393) - Seattle, Washington, USA - JUL 12, 2003
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Nice orange amber with a perfect head that rimes the beer nicely. Very fruity aroma is reminiscent of two better barleywines (Port Townsend Barleywine and Pyramid 500 year old Ale). The flavor was moderately complex, leaning decidely towards a candy orangish with an accompanying slight sourness. Syrupy smooth with a light bitter finish that dissapears momentarily after each sip. Alcohol is balanced well. Another fine Barleywine for the PNW.
jercraigs (8106) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 11, 2003
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JUN 6, 2006 June 2006 - Oh what a difference a few years makes on oneís palate! I really was not ready for this the first go round. Ruby body with a small tan head despite a vigourous pour. Big aroma of hops, malt, and alcohol (which increases as it warms) not quite citrusy. Bitter hops and a slight bite/tang that I do not know where to attribute - the hops or the rye malt? Hops seem simple at first glance, yet have a strong depth of character and a solid foundation. Big syrupy palate with light pleasant carbonation. Very nice beer. Deceptively brilliant, a very nice beer. 7-8/3/8/4/16-18 - 4.1<P>
Oct 2000 - Looks and smells somewhat like malt extract. Hot alcoholy taste..warms you from the first sip! Canít quite place the flavor. Sort of bitter, but different. It says it has rye malt in it, so I think it might be that that Iím tasting. It is unique, but not altogether enjoyable. 4/2/3/3/8 - 2.0
elnadeau (786) - Laguna Niguel, California, USA - JUL 8, 2003
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Ginormous head; I did not follow the instructions very well - pour slowly. With the overflow I think an ounce or two ended up on the counter. No matter there was still plenty left to kick my butt. Nicely complex in the nose and flavor dept, spicy sweet with a plethora of hops tracing across the tounge to balance the alcohol quite nicely. Had to look for the ABV percentage half way through to confirm the warm feeling I was getting. A very interesting creation, does not really fit in a single style, more like a Belgian-Barley.
3fourths (8291) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - JUL 7, 2003
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: SEP 9, 2011 Slightly murky golden ruby color. Huge and thick foamy tan head. Aroma of corn, brown sugar, peanuts and pepper. Very acidic and strong drink. Flavor of pepper and lemon. Extremely thick and syrupy. Had a few different bottles at different ages, some have been perfect. I need to expand this rating more, but I can say that this is a solid 4.8, almost a 5 for me.
Kinz (3376) - Glen Allen, Virginia, USA - JUL 6, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JUL 3, 2006 Didnít strike me even remotely as a barley wine. Clearly Belgian in nature, poured a huge tan head over a cloudy, deep amber body. Nose of belgian candy and malts. The tast starts malty and yeasty, finishing with a surprising hop bitterness at the end. An interesting twist. The rye was totally obliterated. 7:3:7:3:16 RERATE: 7/1/06, Batch 63, thanks to Numenor. Medium amber, OK head. Loads of caramel, toffee, and pine. Flavor matches, but has a bit of fruitiness, hay bitterness. No Belgian nature floating in this batch. Rating updated.
hoppygrrrl (104) - Albion, Michigan, USA - JUL 5, 2003
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Beautiful, enormous candy head - the Great Dane of foam! I thought I might need a straw to drink it! An unusual color for a barley wine too. Fresh, fresh aroma, subtle, sweet, fine, yeasty, malty, and bitter all at the same time (I even detected a hint of green apple) - this beer is astonishingly complex and has a perfect palate. First it's sweet, then heavy and malty, then light and smooth, but with no demarcation - it all flows seamlessly. I could drink this all night, or at least until I fall out of my papasan chair!
Kasteelfreak (341) - Fallbrook, California, USA - JUL 5, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 24, 2004 Belgian like fruitiness. A bit dry and musty in the finish. Not as heavy as I thought it would be. A bit cloudy, with noce lingering head. i donít think I would call this a barley wine except for the fact that itís very high in alcahol. Rerate 090604: Batch 52. Be carefulpouring this one. Carbonation is very active. Carbonation comes up from the bottom of the glass like smoke from a cigarette. Very fruity with lots of fig. Lots of honey also. Head is all over the place and it retains nicely. Spiceand honey come to mind while drinking this. Hides the alcahol very well. Awesome beer. Rererate 122304: Thereís apricot to it as well. This beer is like the movie AIRPLANE. You can watch it or taste over and over and over and notice something new from it everytime. I bimped it one more point because it has really impressed me the four times Iíve had it.
beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - JUN 28, 2003
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Color is a cloudy light copper with a one finger high head of spongy soft yellow cream and recieves thin stringed lace rings. Smell is soft bread, medicine-like alcohol, citrus of pineapple and juicy fruit gum. Taste is largely alcoholic, sharp and quick, good caramel maltyness and a highly hopped grab thats a bit citrusy with quick sensing pineyness. Finishes back into caramel and toffee with a lingering alcohol warmth and airy hoppy dryness. Super full body and strength of alcohol, wow! Major sipper, this took forever to finish. It gets smoother and mellows some as it warms.
AxeMaster221 (343) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUN 15, 2003
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Lovely amber color, quickly diminishing head, superly complex flavors for a barleywine, and pretty well disguised 10% alcohol. Fred, Adam, and Doggie Claws put Hair of the Dog at the top of Oregon breweries.