CaptainCougar (7129) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - MAY 7, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JAN 15, 2012 2003 Bottle # O15150 sampled on 1/15/12: It had been a while since Iíd tried this one, so I thought Iíd see how it was aging. Pour is very viscous, but completely still. Has a rich sweet dark caramel, plum and rum raisin nose, with some nice oxidation. Body has plenty of sweetness and fruity complexity with good brown sugar and honey flavors. Hides the alcohol really well. Iíd say this is very close to, if not already in its prime, but then again, the oldest Hardyís Iíve tried were only from the 90ís.
2004 Bottle # P05522 sampled on 5/7/06: Does seem to have changed too much since the last time I sampled. Still a ton of sweet chewy caramel malt and lots of fruity complexity. Plenty of carbonation is hidden within the thick, viscous body. Borderlined cloying at times, but when you want something sweet it really hits the spot.
2004 Bottle # P16718 sampled on 11/19/04: Pours a murky mahogany brown with a thin, lightly lacing beige head. Aroma is full of raisin, plum, and caramel toffee. The texture and sweet complexity of this brew are amazing. One of the best dessert beers there is. Why more barleywines canít match this thick, sweet goodness, I donít know.
2003 Bottle # 15644 sampled on 5/7/04: Pours a light mahogany with a thin cream-colored ring of foam. Lively caramel popcorn aroma shows a touch of hops and candi sugar. Starts syrupy sweet and smooth with a viscous palate and a finish that is pure butterscotch. Mild alcohol is noticeable, but I anticipate it will fade some with aging. Extremely well balanced beer that is a great rendition of the original.
Cornboy (424) - Eastampton, New Jersey, USA - MAY 3, 2004
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: OCT 9, 2005 2004 vintage. Reddish amber in color. No head at all from the pour.
Taste explosion here, plum, caramel, alcohol bite. A bit sweet.
Finish was sweet raisin, slight alcohol presence, but hidden pretty well. Starting its gentle journey of mellowing, first time around 6 months ago it was much too harsh...
Only gets better for the next 15-20 years!
Shadrach (176) - Brooklyn, New York, USA - MAY 1, 2004
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle # 002305. Poured a brown orange amber coloring with some opaqueness. Aroma like maple syrup and some herbs. Very smooth with slight hoppiness. It was sweet in the aftertaste almost syrupy with some alcohol mixed in and undercurrent of hops.
Syd (920) - Waconia, Minnesota, USA - APR 30, 2004
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle No. 08567. Pours a cherry red with a minimal off white head and some residual lace. The aroma is yeast, classic Single Malt Scotch, Sherry, and some fruit notes. The flavor is citrus fruit, orange peel, plum, Sherry, salt or sodium bicarbonate, and a good hop show to balance. The palate is very rich, but not sticky. Overall, this is real good. I do prefer the aged.
heykevin (1272) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - APR 29, 2004
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Attractive dep ruby. Warming alcoholic aroma, no sting, just warm. Nutty and figgy. Bitter with a sweet finish initially, but the layers unfold. Fat juicy maltiness, sticky on the tongue. Warming alcoholic finish. At this stage of age, I like this.
rauchbier (3496) - Isle Of Beer, Lincolnshire, ENGLAND - APR 28, 2004
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle conditioned, from Fabeers in York. Deep chestnut red, good initial fizz of foam soon disappears, moderate fine condition. First aroma on opening is sweet liquorice, followed by a hint of yeast, some caramel and then an orange note that has touches of cointreau and chocolate. There is even a little hoppiness as it sits in the glass and a twiggy, woody note. In the mouth it is thick, sweet and alcoholic. Malt is dominant, but with some berry and fruit notes, a little yeastiness and a fairly obvious alcoholic kick. Aftertaste is mouthcoatingly thick and malty with alcohol buzzing around your head and some orange notes lingering. Still a little on the young side.
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 18, 2004
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Deep amber body with ultrafine suspended particulates, low carbonation, and a very thin, loose soapy head. Aroma of alcohol, rich burnt caramel, wood and paint thinner. Flavor of brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, woody hops, and cinnamon with some nice bitterness in the finish. Sticky, syrupy feel. Fine stuff but definitely begs to be cellared for about a decade, as they say.
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - APR 12, 2004
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
"03-Bottle 15639. Looks like the Thomas Hardy I remember. Cloudy dark chestnut color with only small island of tiny bubbles adrift on the top. Sweet caskwood with a buttery port nose. First sip certainly perks up the senses. Smooth and silky in feel. Malty and rich in flavor, with butterscotch, prunes, raisins, plums, dark candi, and sweet alcohol. Not warming, but a real belly turner. Glad to have another vintage to start aging.
kbjames (244) - Utah, USA - APR 12, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
This is a very unique beer and pricey as well for. lots of flavor really comes out in this beer, caramel, sweetness, I can't even think of it all. never had one like this before. I should get one to age for a few years and come back to it.
Shag (2501) - Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA - APR 12, 2004
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Appearance was dark brown with a moderate head. Aroma is caramel and dark fruit. Flavor was very complex and featured caramel, toffee, and cherries. The alcohol was certainly present but not overpowering. The aftertaste was very sweet and warming. This was a great beer. Thanks a million Igneous1!