JCW (1278) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - APR 27, 2003
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Vintage 1997:Dark in Color, reddish brown, thich head for the style. Wine aroma - Sweet. Almost a "port" in beer. Sweet finish.
Rockinout (966) - Kent, Ohio, USA - APR 15, 2003
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
2001 vintage. Clouded coper tan color, head dissipated quickly. Nose of apple, plum, raisin, with a slight bing cherry taste. Starts of with a sweet edge, then stops. Creamy smooth on the palate. Opened up as it came to room temperature. I also sampled the 1988 aged with port at Buckeye Brewing and it was something I'd like to have again. It was like a thicker wine, the port intensified the ale.
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 14, 2003
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
I have to say I was a little skeptical about trying this one because of its age, but all I can say to myself about that is "why". This beer pours with an amber brown bady topped by a thin quickly disappearing sodalike head with some lace left on the glass. Suspended yeast was observed in the body. A slightly sweet and fruity brandy like aroma filled my nose and strong alcohol notes followed. A Very sweet and syrupy malt flavor with fruity accents and alcohol notes flowed across my tongue. I was amazed at how great this beer stood up to the test of time. 17 years does this beer good. Full bodied and syrupy yet amazingly smooth.
JasonG (776) - Salt Lake City, Utah, USA - MAR 11, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: MAY 16, 2003 2001 vintage: Pours a beautiful brownish/red color, cloudy, with a very small tan head with nice lacing. Aroma is very sweet, with strong caramel, apple, honey. Flavor is extremely sweet, caramel and vanilla notes present, but overwhelmed by the sweetness. The palate is syrupy thick, kinda coats the mouth. Overall it's interesting, but too sweet and syrupy.
I also had two interesting versions of this brew (the rating is based on the normal brew): one aged with port and one with calvados, both 1998 and both out of wooden pins (very small barrels, I think about 5 gal. each). I guess the brewery actually pours in the liquor before aging. I'll describe them seperately below.
1998 AGED WITH PORT: No head at all on this, with a dark brown/amber color. Full bodied aroma, sweet and vinous, with caramel notable. Flavor is a lot like port, extremely sweet as well. Palate is almost syrupy thick, feels like it coats your mouth after you swallow. Palate was just too viscous for me, and flavor was too sweet.
1998 AGED WITH CALVADOS: Dark amber color with no head at all. Strong aroma, whiskey/brandy like, super sweet, with apple notes. Flavor is very strong with alcohol and very sweet, with maybe some vanilla in there somewhere. Again palate is very syrupy sweet.
These were both interesting to try to broaden my horizons of what can be considered beer, but not quite something I'd want to have again.
beerstop (173) - Roanoke, Virginia, USA - MAR 5, 2003
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
1997 Bottle. Strong malt and alcohol aroma's. Pours a ruby-brown with a quickly diminishing head. Flavor is strong with malt and alcohol. Sweet and strong. Almost syrupy texture. Alcohol shows its presence as it warms. A must try.
apoptosis (1317) - Denver, Colorado, USA - MAR 3, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thick, heavy, smokey aroma. Very syrupy sweet vanilla and smokey flavor. Like a piece of gourmet candy from some exotic country or something. No head at all, ruby color. Oh! It's so heavy!
omnivore (270) - San Francisco, California, USA - MAR 3, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
2000: Musky and sweet... it smelled like sex. Topaz in color. The flavor was just brilliant on the tongue.
1999: much sweeter, more buttery and woody
1996: even sweeter, stronger finish with overtones of toffee and fruit
1991: much more mature, confident not as sweet as future years
1988: much sweeter, and very rummy flavored
1986: this is undenyably paramount, it vanshes off the tongue almost too quickly, leaving you to wonder at the flavors you just tasted. This stuff ages phenomenally. Everyone who tried it was floored at what great things happened to it.
notalush (5732) - Denver, Colorado, USA - MAR 3, 2003
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
2001 bottle. What an odd barley wine. Cloudy ruby appearance. Aroma like brown sugar and cookie dough, that makes you think back to your mother's kitchen at Christmas time when you were a child. The first sip is disturbingly sweet and syrupy. "Ick," you think. But then your tongue gets used to the idea. There is a tapestry of flavors in this beer that not many beers come close to. Carmelized brown sugar, molassas, plums, roasted oats, cherries, oak, maple syrup, and many other flavors I can't identify. This beer does the tango with your tongue and leaves if gasping in a puddle of its own sweat. The thick, sticky body of it coats your mouth and throat. I can compare it to Samichlaus and WWS, but as a barley wine. An outstanding and original beer experience.
SilkTork (5558) - Southampton, United Kingdom, Hampshire, ENGLAND - FEB 27, 2003
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
First sip is orgasmic - a pornographic sweetness wraps around the tongue while a seductive rush of flavours ooze around the mouth. The second sip is calmer - almost sedate. The oak, the wine, and some of the fruits come through. By the third sip the alcohol is coming through, along with the tangy, bitter tree bark. By the fourth sip the intensity of the flavours and the strength of the alcohol is becoming overbearing, almost nauseating. There is a lot happening here, and not all of it is good. Then the flavours integrate in a wonderful labyrinthine journey through a malt palace complete with grand halls named Autumn, Treacle and Damp Forest. Unusual for such a malt intensive beer the hops come surging through at the finish to provide an orchestral display of stinging bark dust. Each sip is a story of its own, and no two sips are alike. The sips that are good are like The Beatles on acid playing Rubber Soul live in your mouth; but the sips that are bad are like a pirate copy of Suicidal Tendencies playing Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells over and over again. A most stunning and extraordinary beer.
redlem (1306) - Ohio, USA - FEB 22, 2003
2.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 11/20
Rated 2000 vintage: What a mix I loved the aroma of this beer but hated the taste. Pours a oily dark ruby. Aroma is a wonderful oak cask/ sherry. However this was way too sweet and syrupy for me, your typical childhood cough syrup taste where you make the scrunched up face and go Bleech! after swallowing and you ahve that taste for half a day. That is what this stuff is, why punish yourself some childhood memories are best left in the past.