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RATINGS: 93   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.61/5   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 103   EST. CALORIES: 327   ABV: 10.9%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
R&D Series. In the Ninkasi tradition, this barley wine is hopped to high heaven –using more than 16 pounds per barrel! Critical Hit’s rich, malty expression is balanced by 16 varieties of hops that linger on the palate. Its high gravity nature warms the cheeks and soul. Critical Hit does maximum damage, so you might have to roll to save if you take this ale for granted!

Massive citrus, earthy, resinous, and grassy hop flavor is balanced with the melanoidin complexity of port and sherry notes, creating a powerful and warming taste experience. Big citrus, earthy, grassy, and pine hop aroma with port and sherry notes mingle in this beer conditioned for over a year. Aggressive bitterness dominates up front with a large array of hop flavor spanning citrus, earthy, resinous, grassy and dank. Subtle caramel and melanoidin compounds oxidize (in a good way) to create the port and sherry notes that are a trademark to these extremely strong beers called barley wine. The bitterness of the beer helps round out the intensity of alcohol and the malt complexity to make a non-cloying and very, very tasty beer. This may be the one beer that you still need to sip rather than quaff but it is deceptive for the style.

Hops: Columbus, Millenium, Northern Brewer, Simcoe, Falconers Flight, Galena, Peerle, Santiam, Ahtanum, Fuggle, Glacier, Hersbrucker, Liberty, Spalt, Hallertau


3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
Koskela (490) - Marysville, California, USA - MAY 23, 2015
I get very malty aroma with a fruity undernote in this thick not very carbonated cloudy brown brew. Sweet full bodied up front with a molasses and earthy mid taste finishing with a nice bitter and earthy aftertaste and a hint of warning from the 10.4%

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
PartyFowle (935) - - APR 14, 2015
Draft. 2009 vintage. Burgundy hue, very hazy. Deep color. The head appears almost nitrogenated -- very thick and dense and tan. Gorgeous. Caramelized sugar leads and rules the nose, followed by toffee, a touch of toasted bread, some sticky alcohol and mild, minty hops. A smooth blend of aromas. More toasty malt appears in the flavor, caramel on toasted bread. Lots of toffee, mostly sweet, plus an earthy hop flavor. Saccharine complexity. Creamy medium body wtih mild, tingly carbonation. No noticeable alcohol save some heat in the nose and tongue numbness. Outrageous.

3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
HIGHB4LL (837) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - APR 9, 2015
Bomber on game night, oh ya! (From Wilbur’s). Appearance: half finger white head, dark amber color, clear, light oily lacing. Aroma: caramel, resin, light prune, earthy, faint hints of alcohol, exhale is full of pine and resin with alcohol. Palate: medium body, softer carbonation, thin texture with alcohol thinness and warming finish, bitter finish. Taste: sweet caramel with very light fruit notes before alcohol and resinous hops take over and destroy your palate! Pretty interesting, but balance is definitely skewed and off. I enjoy it, but it is not a well balanced beer.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
oRos (1500) - sacramento, California, USA - APR 8, 2015
Bottle listed at 2013 reserve. Pours light amber with khaki head. Aroma is sweet and hoppy. Taste is Carmel malt with a sweet finish. Nice hop burn as well

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
SG111 (1004) - New York, USA - MAR 7, 2015
2012 vintage. On tap at Bier Stein, Oregon. Pours slightly red amber color with small white head. Aroma is malty caramel, fig, toffee, bit of burnt sugar. Little hop character in the background. Flavor is sweet caramel, malt, toffee, sugar sweetness, and a notable hop finish. For a 2012 vintage the hops are really pronounced. Awesome.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
seehaferb23 (164) - - MAR 4, 2015
This fit the true category of a barley wine. It helped that this beer was aged.

3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
zoucrew102 (1201) - - JAN 25, 2015
Bomber, brought back from Oregon, 2012 reserve #4545/12000. Pine resinous hop aroma with subtle notes of caramel and dark fruit. Pours dark caramel brown with a thin off white head and not much lacing to speak of. Starts pretty well with light caramel and dark fruit sweetness. Finishes, not as well to my liking, dry with pine resin hop bitterness that lingers on the palate. Good to start, but the finish was a bit bitter for my palate.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
presario (4902) - Stampede City, Alberta, CANADA - NOV 20, 2014
Dark plum amber. Ghostly head. Moderate alcohol and hop spice nose. Dry body. Some alcohol. Nice but a bit tame. A nice fruitiness. You could wake up in March without knowing what happened. Sneaky.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Sarlacc83 (1735) - Portland, Oregon, USA - OCT 26, 2014
Well, this has been sitting in my cellar awhile. 2010 vintage. 0087/5000 A: Brown color that looks red when held to the light. Foamy off-white head. Legs. N: Pine, grapefruit, pineapple, biscuit, toffee, earth, leaves, and bread. Black licorice and peppercorn. T: Very, very bitter. Moderate sweetness. I either haven’t had this fresh or don’t remember it then, but I’ve heard it was pretty brutal, so it seems at least somewhat tamed. M: Sticky medium-heavy body; foaming carbonation, alcohol burns pretty good. O: They call this critical hit - I assume that means they threw a dice and whatever number they landed on, that’s how many pounds per barrels of hops they threw in. Must have been a 15+, and they decided to throw them in earlier rather than later. It’s fine, I suppose. Not very complex, but not horrifying; if still too bitter to enjoy.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
DuffMan (8915) - the land of bitumen, beef & beer, Alberta, CANADA - SEP 25, 2014
Bottle #4086 out of 6200, 2011 Vintage, shared at game night with TvM and heavyleavy. I hope this was worth 3 years of cellaring...Pours a deep amber-orange, very hazy, with a soft golden head. Beautiful chewy toffee malts with a marmalade sweetness and a warm, mildly bitter finish. Tawny port traits in here, sticky big body, velvety mouthfeel. Loved it, definitely worth the wait!


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