superspak (3976) - Michigan, USA - MAR 1, 2015
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: MAR 7, 2015 3000th review! 22 ounce bottle into snifter; 2014 vintage, bottled in late 2013. Pours hazy dark ruby red color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with solid retention, that reduces to a small spotty lace cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, coconut, vanilla, bourbon, oak, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/toasted malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Light-moderate booziness as it warms, but not too bad. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, toast, coconut, brown sugar, molasses, brown bread, bourbon, oak, vanilla, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, caramel, butterscotch, molasses, toffee, toast, coconut, vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome malt/yeast/barrel balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, fairly slick, and slightly syrupy/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light-moderate warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged English barelywine style. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.
mikem409 (1949) - bloomfield, Michigan, USA - FEB 26, 2015
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle. Brown color with solid white head. Thick toasted toffee and woody aroma. Taste boozy lots of caramel with a slight bitter hop.
tectactoe (3125) - Michigan, USA - FEB 26, 2015
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle: 2007 vintage. Thanks, Ed. Was a little over 5 years old at the time of opening. Dark mahogany color with a brash haziness. A thin, light-tan layer of foam evades the top & quickly forms a tiny ring. Good to see any sign of carbonation at all, really. Aroma loaded with oak, bourbon, sweet plums, black cherries, light maple syrup, brown sugar, & molasses. Very sweet, very complex. Malty dimepiece. No signs of oxidation in the aroma OR in the flavor. Thick, muddled, heavy body. Very strong sweetness, albeit controlled & refined. Dark brown sugar, molasses, maple, anise, plums, dates, red grapes, black cherries, buttery toffee, light vanilla, &a robust helping of alcohol. Finished & lingers with candied dark fruits, sticky caramel, & oak. Warming, but not hot. Sweet, but not cloying. Delicious & woody. Great barley wine.
Bottle: 2011 vintage thanks to Mike. A little over 3 years old. A lovely barley wine all around, as expected. A little more carbonation & actually a slightly thinner mouth feel than I remember. Heavier bourbon flavor, lots of anise & bourbon with a large oak & toffee presence. Heavy dark fruits, as usual, too. Prefer the older vintage but this was still great.
Bottle: 2013 vintage, thanks to Steve. Somewhere between 1 to 2 years old. Much smoother than expected. Boozy, sure, but not abrasive at all. Super sticky sweet, probably the heaviest with butter toffee, caramel, & brown sugar. Lovely oak finish. Once again, great stuff.
kbutler1 (1377) - North Carolina, USA - JAN 24, 2015
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. 2008 vintage. Pours a deep, deep cooper color with a slight ringed tan head. Caramel notes abound. Medium/heavy mouthfeel. Caramel and butterscotch flavors with a hint of bitterness in the back end. warms very nicel.
Errl (2401) - Plano, Texas, USA - JAN 18, 2015
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle..Pour is golden with a faded head..Nose is spice, sweet, bourbon, sweet..Taste is spice, sweetness, bourbon, sticky, caramel. .
GothGargoyle (1952) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JAN 18, 2015
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Medium brown with a pale head. Aroma is raisins, brown sugar, dates, maple. Full bodied, slightly sticky mouthfeel, sweet on the palate, lightly boozy finish. Taste is brown sugar, raisins, caramel, dates.
Ferris (9777) - Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA - JAN 18, 2015
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle - Sweet vinous and caramel. Cloudy red copper with a decent beige head. Sweet caramel, raisin and a long finish. Really nice good example.
OldMrCrow (2243) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 19, 2014
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2013 bottle sampled Dec 19, 2014.
Bottle. After reading Prufrock’s gloriously crunk review of Anchorage Deal with the Devil (I’ve been there -- I love that feeling too!) I had to bust out my own 100/99 barrel aged Alaskan barleywine. I’m very glad I did. At one year of age this has to be peaking. I’m sure it needed a year, but it also clearly will not improve from here.
Pours a rich viscous sienna into my snifter with a small and ephemeral head. The nose: tons of vanilla and barleywine sweetness. Age on the hops, but only slight to hit that sweet spot between bitter bite and aged hop cheese. The bourbon is all vanilla and no booze. How do they do that? The flavor is warm and sweet, hops aged just right and bringing their bitterness only way after the finish and even then still dancing with the sugars. And all of that lovely vanilla oak. The palate is ridiculously smooth, basically zero heat. If it wasn’t thick like a perfect ristretto I’d think it was closer to 8% than 13+. Even so I’d have called it at 10 or 11. This is pretty much a perfect BA barleywine.
If I wanted to complain, I’d have two avenues. The first is that I’m bored of high alcohol beers. But that’s a case of "It’s not you, it’s me." The other much more damning complaint is that it doesn’t have it’s own unique character. It’s beautiful exactly the way that an average or composite of many womens’ faces is beautiful ( highbrow link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2435688/ ). But yeah, you know you’d hit any of those --- so it’s pretty thin grounds on which to complain.
tl;dr summary. Perfect BA barleywine. Yawn.
Boutip (5465) - Gatineau, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 17, 2014
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle: Poured a deep dark cloudy brown color ale with a small dark brown foamy head with light retention and some minimal lacing. Aroma of toffee, residual brown sugar and caramelized malt is pretty awesome. Taste is also dominated by toffee with some brown sugar notes and caramelized malt. All rough edges have been rounded by the bourbon notes with light vanilla notes also noticeable. Body is full with limited filtration and a good amount of carbonation. This beer has so many layers of complexity while retaining such a good amount of drinkability. Really amazing beer that I wish I could try on a regular basis.
markextrae (2748) - Maastricht, NETHERLANDS - DEC 14, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
bottle thanks to jeff, shared with a friend. no notice of the vintage year, but i’m pretty sure it was a 2013 bottle... poured a murky light amber colour with a nice white head. toffee, caramel, lot’s of fruits in the nose, like plums, figs, rainsins, vanilla, got that sticky butter aroma, toasted malts, maybe some of a red fruit, there is a bourbon barrel notice, but not in a big amount that i would like in my barley wine. bit of a disappointment for such a high ranked beer. take some of the BA emelisse barley wines from the netherlands, it blews this one away in no time.