Lothore (557) - California, USA - APR 23, 2008
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Let me first say that at first I really wanted to not like this beer. Something about this whole frequent special releases thing kind of rubs me the wrong way for some reason.
A- I have to say this looks just about perfect. Very dark brown, almost black with a creamy, tan head that leaves quite a bit of lacing as it falls.
S- Smell is very enticing, sweet, brown sugar, spices, almost detect a sour note towards the end, slight coffee, a bit of bourbon.
T- Taste is much different than I was suspecting from the smell. Tastes creamy, mixed spices in the middle, sweet cream, a slight bit of bourbon. Can detect the alcohol warming but it blends in so superbly. The sweetness wears on you after a while. Definitely a sipper.
M- A bit thinner than I would have guessed, very crisp with a lot of carbonation. Refreshing, Iím a little tired of beers that are way too thick, this is excellent.
D- I really really wanted to not like this beer. I tried to find as much wrong with it as I could but I just couldnít. Not a huge fan of the brewery, didnít buy into the hype and I loved it. Try to get a bottle now why there is still some in circulation, you wonít regret it.
kkearn (1165) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 23, 2008
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
375mL bottle. Pours deep mahogany, nearly opaque, with a moderate sized mocha head. Rich aroma of roasted chocolate malt, vanilla, oak and bourbon. Palate begins on the sweet side, with raisin, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. Long finish, with raisin, chocolate, oak, and warming alcohol. Velvety smooth mouthfeel. The bourbon is integrated nicely; I enjoyed this more than the brandy version. Iíd like to try this side-by-side with the original version in the near future for better comparison.
Numenor (871) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - APR 23, 2008
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sweet oaky burbon aroma, very thick. Black body with a ivory head, nice lacing. Far less bufbon in taste, great. Chocolate, vanilla, some caramel. Sweet ending with a light burbon burn.
argo0 (11712) - Washington DC, USA - APR 22, 2008
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
(375ml bottle, thanks kmweaver) Brown-black body with giant beige head. Aroma is medium sweet, Bourbon, chocolate, plum/raisin. Taste is moderately sweet, raisin, some Bourbon/alcohol, chocolate, caramel. Medium body, some effervescence. The Bourbon is complementary rather than overpowering.
Ratman197 (10308) - Arvada, Colorado, USA - APR 22, 2008
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
375 ml corked and caged bottle poured a cloudy dark brown with a larege lasting tan head. Aromas of bourbon, oak, vanilla, carmel, dates and figs. Palate was medium to full bodied and smooth with a warming finish. Flavors of bourbon, carmel, oak, vanilla, light dates and hints of fig and spice with a smooth warming lingering bittersweet finish.
inkubus27 (269) - highland, Indiana, USA - APR 22, 2008
4.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
I was kindof skeptical going into this because it seems like everything that is uber-hyped, I tend to hate. Not this one. This is one of the smoothest, most complex barley wines...no wait, this is THE smoothest and most complex barley wine Iíve ever tasted. Palate is amazing for something this strong. Big thanks to wj94 for this one!
JorisPPattyn (8094) - Antwerpen, BELGIUM - APR 21, 2008
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Black beer, very persistent beige head. Bourbon jumping out of the glass; alcohol, dark malts, brandy and grapes. Very Bourbonflavoured as well, some roasted malts, dark fruit, dark wild mushrooms, fusel alcohols. Not really sweet, but sweet enough. Extremely sticky and viscous, oily, totally full-bodied, notwithstanding that it remains very pleasing. Superb difference, same difference.
hellbilly (3249) - scottsdale Łber alles, Arizona, USA - APR 21, 2008
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
sweet jesus, finally! lovingly shared by bockyhorsey and sparky27 at the PHX tasting. after a struggle with the cork and devastating near-overflow (crisis avoided, though)... this pours very dark reddish brown, nearly black. perched on top is a big light tan head that eventually fades to a film of funny colored foam leaving behind a nice trail of lacing. the aroma is akin to a red wine.... notes of prunes, black raisins, belgian chocolate and wood. the bourbon smell is present and sweet but not overwhelming. (notes get sparse at this point!) as far as the flavor... well, it is more refined and smarter than i. itís a complex mix of oak, vanilla, dark fruit, a little molasses, chocolate again, wood and a peppery dry woody finish. everything is in perfect balance. the bourbon does nothing to get in the way but rather plays a secondary role to help coalesce an amazing experience. insanely drinkable if it werenít for the price tag...
ucusty (2691) - raleigh, North Carolina, USA - APR 21, 2008
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: SEP 4, 2009 North Raleigh Tasting! Opened like a Champaign bottle, cork hit the ceiling, leaving a slight scuff. Dark Brown pour with fluffy head a wonderful lace. Bourbon and oak on the nose. Maple syrup, bouubon, oak and caramel malts. Another excellent effort!
BrotherGrendel (787) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 21, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
First RB rating after 300 on BA (as Stoneman78)! The cork and cage flew off this one, gushing brewing gold all over the floor, yikes. Dense brown hue with huge billowing head that eventually dies down to a thin layer. Smell dominated by oak, vanilla, caramel, sweet malts, and light bourbon. Delicious and rich initial taste profile of molasses, oak, caramel malts, and maple syrup opens up quickly to a whiskey alcohol burn and vanilla. Finishes syrupy sweet and drying. Thick chewy texture and prickly carbonation. Absolutely a top-tier beer with improved balance and drinkability compared to the original AS; however, it lacks some of the punch and range of the brandy AS which I would rate slightly higher on flavor and aroma.