Angeloregon (2055) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAR 9, 2010
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Save for Astoria Brewingís Bitter Bitch Triple IPA, Ninkasi Critical Hit, from what we gathered, was one of the hoppiest brews at the Lucky Lab Barleywine and Big Beer Fest, and likely the hoppiest barleywine. Lots of toffee and piny tropical fruit notes came from this deep tawny beer. This beer could have almost passed for an triple IPA, but there was some noticeable caramel maltiness present. Very bitter on the tongue, but overall, this is the kind of barleywine many Pacific Northwestern beer lovers like, and Ninkasi ainít no dummy.
presario (4709) - Stampede City, Alberta, CANADA - NOV 20, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
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.
Sarlacc83 (950) - Oregon, USA - OCT 26, 2014
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
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 havenít had this fresh or donít remember it then, but Iíve 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, thatís 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. Itís fine, I suppose. Not very complex, but not horrifying; if still too bitter to enjoy.
DuffMan (7037) - the land of bitumen, beef & beer, Alberta, CANADA - SEP 25, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
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!
bpreo (1790) - Eugene, Oregon, USA - SEP 24, 2014
4.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
Iíve been waiting 3 years to finally try this beer. It has a perfect Barley Wine taste, high alcohol content, and almost black color.
50belair (2490) - Florida, USA - AUG 15, 2014
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at the Blind Tiger. Clear amber pour with an off white head. Shit, JAHABW (just another hoppy ass barley wine). Piney hop bouquet. Piney hop notes dominate the show with muted caramel malt undercurrents. Below average mouthfeel. Average body.
Lectvay (157) - Boise, Idaho, USA - JUN 24, 2014
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle number 986, 2011 reserve. Dark opaque amber, fairly carbonated. Smells like burnt caramel. Tastes great. Sweet, a little creamy feeling, smooth, more caramel. A spot on barley wine, if you ask me.
fiulijn (15371) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - MAY 2, 2014
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle from Whole Foods Westlake, Seattle; vintage 2012, bottle 03368/12000
Brown color with dark amber hue, small head. The aroma of dark caramel and components of hop sweat and hop resins immediately brings back to older times (Old Foghorn).
Full bodied but not heavy, with round mouthfeel, and moderate sweetness; the dark caramel flavor dominates the opening, with accents of biscuits and dark bread; then the bitterness appears, with its load of dark hop resins, and reminiscent of Italian digestive liquors (Cynar, Rabarbaro Zucca). The stickiness on the lips, in the end, is also a good sign.
Old (American) school; I will get back to this one again.
cstuartj (1011) - Washington, USA - APR 11, 2014
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle, pours a ruby red with a massive cream colored head, lots of lacing. Nose is classic barely wine, sweet, heady, alcohol. Nice mellow attack, not overly sweet, alcohol and malt. yumm.
trujahwarrior (509) - Monroe, Washington, USA - MAR 23, 2014
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap, pours a dark amber copper color with a thin white head that leaves light lacing. Smells of dark fruit, caramel, oak, dark malt and citrus. Tastes of the same things. Mouthfeel is medium and creamy with good carbonation and a dry finish. Pretty good aged barley wine. I think itís the best thing Iíve had from Ninkasi.
gnashville (4) - Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA - MAR 23, 2014 does not count
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
2012 reserve, bottled late 2013
The hops in this are practically jumping out of the glass, and are very much the focal piece. Quite resinous, with a touch of oakiness as well. On the darker side of barley wine, but the body is only middling, which I find to be an asset with this much hop going on.
One of the few barley wines Iíve had that I think might suffer somewhat from aging; the alcohol is already quite in check, and losing those hop notes would turn this into a fairly muddy beer.
Overall, an excellent take on the style.