TAR (2391) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - JUN 8, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Tawny orange. Slightly rocky dirty-white foam slowly dissipates. Patches of lace adhere to the glass. Alluring aroma of dates, tobacco, cakey malts, and coconuts with lesser notes of citrus peels, melon seeds, and rhubarb. Plenty of vanillin, but only mildly tannic and spicily alcoholic. Soft carbonation with a sharp edge of fuzz. Oak tannins and prickly hop bitterness immediately coarsen the mashed date and juicy malt onslaught. Carbonation is a tad feisty, and keeps things from clinging to the palate. Gains more creaminess after 45 minutes, however. Slippery fruitiness helps to muffle the alcohol. Butter toffee and some huskiness develop as it warms, but remain complementary, and not overbearing. Delicate vanillin flavor, and sparsely oaky, but never cloying despite the dried pineapple sweetness and enormous malt load. Latter-half bristles with palate adhering sappy malts (Maris Otter?), but the rush of tannins and alcohol exaggerate the dryness, which keeps it from becoming cloying. Closes with an understatedly spicy alcohol and tannin blend before a tardy explosion of oily, grapefruit pith-accented hops. An improvement on an already-classic barleywine.
willblake (2626) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - MAY 20, 2005
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: MAY 22, 2005 05.20.05 One of few 750s bottled around 01/05. First sampled this at the brewery and again a week later from a 750 and I thought it was hot. The wood aging, it seems, had really brought out much of the alcohol spice. Then again, the regular Old Salty 2004 seemed young back then, too. This is turning into one hell of a beer, one that I wish I had more of. Deep bourbon brown is the pour, while a creamy head of fine tan bubbles fades to swirling islands, lazily lacing. Mostly clear. I canít help but plant my nose in the bowl of this glass for minutes; Iím nearing hyperventillation as I struggle to hoard every sweet, sweet perfume this magical brew presents me. Toffee and nougat with chocolate, itís reminding me of a red-ribboned box of confections. Aromas and flavors dance in unison, rythmic balance of malty sweetness and fruitish hops. Moderate finishing burn reminds me to keep an easy tempo, to sip slowly, deeply enhale, sip again. Light touches of citrus and berry jam; mineral traces are minute but real. A body so smooth, so soft, and coating, the swallow is invited, welcome and warming. Time in the wood has mellowed this brew, accelerated its age, softened and balanced the untamed edges of a young and restive barleywine. Sublime. My new favorite barley wine, and my new favorite Heavyweight brew.
jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - MAY 7, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
750ml bottle courtesy of eyedrinkale. First, I loved the 2004 Old Salty when it first came out a few months back. Since I have had an infected 4-pack and my opinion has been lowered a bit. Also I had a barrel-aged version of the 2003 vintage that was horrendous, in that the primary flavor was that of dirty aquarium water. It was if the barrel soaked in a stagnant pond with the beer in it. This is the baggage that I bring with me to the tasting of this beer.
It smells a lot like the non-barrel-aged version. Though there are definite differences and even some of that fish tank smell I mentioned earlier, though it is not strong like it was in the 2003. A bit if oakiness develops in the aroma as it warms. It is sweet and mellow after that. The flavor is outstanding, a perfect blend of the barrel and the 2004 Old Salty. This one stayed in the barrel just the right amount of time. The wood, sherry, bourbon, and vanilla all complement rather than dominate. Underneath it is still the phenomenal beer that it was before. Full coating mouth feel, soft carbonation, it is as if the bubbles can not escape the thickness of the liquid. Alcohol is slightly more forward than in the non-barrel-aged variety, which seems to always be the case with a barrel-aged beer. Even in wood-aged wines the alcohol seems to come out more. Overall this is an excellent beer.
Crosling (1863) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - APR 21, 2005
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
First things first, the body on this beer is just so astoundingly rich, full, coating, heavy, lingering and so utterly texturized. It has a vibrant ruby color and a creamy and well concentrated white colored head aloft the ruby art. The aroma is subtle, showing a touch of firmly traced malt (grapes, caramel) along with the barrel contribution, which pretty much just gives a bourbon scent. The flavor is still very salty and bitter, full of fruity malt (grapes), caramel and injected with a dry woodiness, a bourbon overload, a hint of vanilla and a touch of cocunut. Another absolutely delcious beer from this fantastic brewery.
CaptainCougar (7129) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - FEB 6, 2005
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: DEC 28, 2005 Rerate 12/10/05: (bottle) Pours a dark bronze copper with a pillowy off-white head. Sweet caramel immersed in some tart oakiness in the aroma. Starts with some sugary caramel balanced with oak and faintly tart earthy complexity. Has hints of light fruits. Very unique and enjoyable. Thanks to goldtwins for sharing!
Sampled at the 2005 EBF: Pours a murky mahogany brown with a thin-lacing light tan head. Has a sweet caramel butterscotch malty aroma with a light fruit complexity. Sweet caramel toffee and mild oak meld with a nice thick butterscotch complexity and gritty CO2 mouthfeel. A decent BW, but I was expecting a little more.
ClarkVV (3579) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - FEB 2, 2005
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
UPDATED: DEC 16, 2005 Cask @ EBF05. Dark brown colored beer, with magenta and mahogany highlights, much like the normal beer, with the similar dark yellow-tan head, though somewhat more dissipating. Aroma smells of salt, bitter alcohol notes, roast, oak and vanilla. Old Salty, being an English barleywine, seemed to have a wonderful mellowness and a profound subtlety of flavors. The barrel aging here, once again, seems to ruin the beer and dominates the flavor. Though Old Salty can definitely "step up to the plate" with a bourbon barrel, what I liked in Old Salty, the brown sugar notes, maple, cream, soft earthy hops and good solid yeast flavors all seemed lost in a jumble of SHARP alcohol, sour oak notes and acidic, oily roast (not from the barrel aging, but it contributes to the harsh flavors). Meduim-full body and a decent lightly creamy mouthfeel from the cask, but I donít feel English barleywines are suited to bourbon, I would have much rather had the regular Old Salty on cask.
joeec5 (204) - bayonne, New Jersey, USA - FEB 2, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Chestnut color...aroma slightly sweet with bourbon notes. Taste is silky smooth with just a touch of bourbon. Im not a big bourbon guy so i appreciate the subtlety of this one as compared to others which i feel bourbon dominates.
Volgon (2763) - Manchester, New Hampshire, USA - JAN 31, 2005
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
XBF05: Deep ruby brown with a big frothy tan head. Rich aroma with brown sugar and wood, smooth body, oily creamy mouthfeel, soft carbonation, starts and ends pretty sweet.
Cornboy (424) - Eastampton, New Jersey, USA - JAN 30, 2005
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAY 24, 2006 Bottled version - rerate - This will likely end up my first 5 once it settles in a bit. The original OS2005 was undercarbonated, but seems Tom added some sugars and blended this with a hoppier version of OS, put it in a barrel for a few months and out came this sublime brew. You only get a few beer experiences in your life where you know it doesnt get better. This was one of them and I enjoyed every last bit of it.
Cask version - Poured very dark. Slight head with a vigorous pour. I pick up very slight notes of bourbon, but it maintains a perfect balance with a overripe plum/raisin malt. Too many bourbon aged brews taste like a shot of JD in a pint with the beer. This one is blended just right allowing you to pick up on the subtle flavors as it warms in your glass.
Surprisingly mellow alcohol notes, this one tastes like its been aged a long time. Very nice caramel malty finish. So smooth, even this young.
Lou18 (1353) - West Paterson, New Jersey, USA - JAN 30, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks jimmack04, and Joeec5. Poured a dark burgundy mahogany color. Little head. Aroma of bourbon, but not over powering. The flavor was bourbon, sweet, as well as dry and smooth. The bourbon is there, but not overpowering. Try this.