Serve in Snifter


on tap

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RATINGS: 80   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.63/5   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 103   EST. CALORIES: 327   ABV: 10.9%
R&D Series. In the Ninkasi tradition, this barley wine is hopped to high heaven Ėusing more than 16 pounds per barrel! Critical Hitís 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

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
DarkElf (3050) - La Jolla, California, USA - JAN 25, 2014
22-Jan-14 (22-oz wax-dipped bottle: Purchased 13-Jan-12 for $14.75 at northwestliquidgold.com)
2010 Release, Bottle # 3261 of 5000.
This beer pours a very hazy, amber body thatís translucent at the edges. The light-tan head rises to half an inch before settling to a bubbly ring and thin, unbroken sheet, and it leaves a wide ring of lacing at the top of the glass. The nose is earthy, woodsy, caramely, and fruity, with dried apricot and ripe apples, but also some dried grass from the hops. On the palate, though, the hops come though more. The beer still tastes very malty, earthy, and fruity, but the hops give the beer a grassy, slightly piney flavor. But whatís most noticeable is the aged, malty aspects of the beer such as decayed forest-wood earthiness; sweet, caramely , and slightly chocolatey malt; and dried apricot, orange marmalade, peach, and fleshy, tropical fruits. Itís full bodied and medium-sweet on the palate, but not heavy or cloying because of the balance from mild, hop bitterness and gentle, earthy acidity and dryness. Carbonation is medium-light, and the mouthfeel is soft and easy. Overall, this Barley Wine has aged superbly, and could be at its peak for my tastes. The hops are still present, the aged-related aspects contribute complexity without excessive oxidation, and itís a great beer to sip for an hour or two. Very, very enjoyable.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
thetmaxx (839) - West Sacramento, California, USA - MAR 7, 2014
On tap for Sacramento beer week! Aroma is strong, lots of alcohol and malt. Thin head and dark brown. Flavor is of dark dried fruits. Roasted malts. Pretty good barley wine. This was supposed to be the 2010 version.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
gnashville (4) - Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA - MAR 23, 2014 does not count
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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
trujahwarrior (509) - Monroe, Washington, USA - MAR 23, 2014
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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
oRos (1419) - 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

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
beertholomeus (1368) - California, USA - SEP 5, 2015
Pours a light burnt amber color with a white head. Caramel, toffee, resinous hop, toast, alcohol, wood and vanilla aroma. Caramel, toffee, resinous hop, toast, vanilla, oak, pine and alcohol flavors. Full body and moderate carbonation. Caramel, resin, hop and alcohol finish. Very hoppy for the style.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
neepsntatties (1520) - Portland, Oregon, USA - FEB 3, 2010
Had this on tap at the Great Alaskan Beer and Barley Wine Fest in Anchorage (Jan. 2010). Colour... cloudy-amber with a thick head. Nose... hoppy with some malt character. Palate... very hoppy and piney with a sugared grapefruit wedge flavour, bitter edging, and a lengthy, resinous, bitter finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
bb (7754) - Alamo, California, USA - MAR 2, 2010
Draft. Toffee colored beer with a dark cream colored head. Earthy and light pine aroma. Big caramel flavor with pine and earth. Fuller bodied. caramel and light toffee lingers with pine and light grapefruit.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
benjaminbier (45) - Oregon, USA - MAY 12, 2011
Tap at Sasquatch brew fest. Bright and clear, caramel amber color with no foam at all, difficult to smell the aromas in here, malt and hop very well balanced. going to have to try more of this tomorrow.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Zymurgeist2 (1427) - Redwood City, California, USA - FEB 17, 2013
On tap at Toronado for Barley Wine Fest. Pours and orange-amber of slight haze with off-white head. Aroma of hops and sweet grain. Lots of hops and bitterness on the palate leading to a fresh clean beer at this alcohol level.

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