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RATINGS: 96   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.61/5   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 117   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


3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
JaBier (6878) - Capital City, Ohio, USA - MAY 24, 2013
Bottle sampled at Kurt’s Blarneywine tasting on 3/16/13. Pours dark amber with a thin beige head. Caramel malt nose with some hop. Malty flavor with grassy hops and some caramel before a bitter, earthy finish.

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
AmEricanbrew (6722) - Same Trailer, Different Park, Louisiana, USA - JAN 28, 2010
@GABBF2010. Clear amber color/ thin tan head. Spicy caramel, sharp pit fruit aromas. medium body. Flavor follows the smell with spicy caramel, sweet tart pit fruits, and a slight metallic off flavor...

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Strykzone (6630) - Wood River, Illinois, USA - APR 11, 2012
Sampled at an esbls tasting. At 4 Hands. Orange brown with a big bubbled head. A nicely hopped nose. Big biting hops are tasted but it is also smooth. Huge malt profile. Fruit is big but cannot quite compete with the hops. Very good but just a bit over done.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
5000 (6599) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - NOV 19, 2011
Draught @ Brouwer’s Café:   Reddish side of amber, moderate finely bubbled head, nice lacing.   Malty nose, a little caramel and citrusy hops.   A little caustic up front, raw and green.   Seems to have a lot of citric rind bitterness and a bit of astringency.   Its not too strong, but this one says young.   Could stand to be a bit heavier on the tongue.   Wished that it was a bit sweeter too.   Lots of raw rind bitterness on the exit.   This one needs to be a bit maltier to age.   Tiz okay, but it’s a bit brash.


3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
reebtogi (5590) - Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA - JUL 14, 2016
650ml bomber pours amber in color with a 2 finger white head that leaves some decent lacing on the glass. Aroma is citrus and caramel with some earthy and grainy notes. Taste is a citrus and earthy hop bitterness with a fruit and caramel malty sweetness with a light alcohol burn in the finish. Medium to full bodied with good carbonation for the style. Overall, a very nicely done barley wine that is hoppier than most beers of this style, but still balanced and not too over the top. Highly recommended.

4.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
dwyerpg (5536) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - APR 3, 2016
The aroma doesn’t have that delicious molasses, but other than that, this was stellar. A great Barley wine molasses flavor that isn’t too sweet or heavy. Went down quick.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
presario (4903) - 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.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
hayduke (4749) - Eureka, California, USA - JAN 9, 2016
Sampled at GABF 2015. In the tasting glass red brown with a beige form cap. Nose of fruit, and some citrus. Goodness knows what else but there are other aromas. there. Very full body. Flavor is malts, raisins maybe, and citrus for sure. Finish is fruity and somewhat bitter. Almost overwhelming in the complexity of flavors but there is almost too much going on. A bit rough overall, but still OK.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
boFNjackson (4200) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAR 5, 2011
Tap @ Barleywine & Big Beer Fest... [2009 vintage] Poured dark amber with an pff-white head. Still fairly hoppy with two years on it. But the hops played off like they were stale -- old hop flavor. Toasted almonds, little bit of buttery lettuce and cabbage. Mild carbonation and a little boozy. Some yeast notes towards the end. It was alright, but I don’t think this is true to Barleywine style. Perhaps American Strong.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
nickd717 (4113) - San Francisco, California, USA - FEB 14, 2010
Toronado barleywine fest 2010, listed as "Ninkasi Barleywine," which I assume is this beer. Pours reddish amber with an off-white head and good lacing. Aroma is very hop-forward compared to many of the others at the fest. Rough citrusy and grassy hops, typical profile for Ninkasi. Just a little sweet malt. Flavor is caramel malt and loads of citrusy and grassy hops. Some light fruits as well. Medium-plus bodied, really palate-wrecking with all those hops. Pretty good overall, but not a standout.


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